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Walgreens unpacks mobile telehealth expansion alongside new loyalty app

Walgreens is bringing its suite of telehealth services to mobile users in 20 new states as part of a significant expansion, in addition to rolling out the loyalty-boosted Walgreens Connect application for measuring glucose and blood pressure levels.

The brand is bringing its collaboration with telehealth service provider MDLive to new levels, enabling customers in 25 states total to receive virtual care from board-certified doctors at any time via their mobile devices. Walgreens is also introducing the Connect app to further its personal health initiatives, allowing Balance Rewards members to earn points for measuring their blood pressure and glucose levels each day.

“Walgreens is innovating in digital health to be the patient champion and partner of choice,” said Mailee Garcia, spokeswoman for Walgreens, Deerfield, IL. “As a pharmacy-led company, we continue to enhance this area through services and solutions that extend the basic care our pharmacists provide for our patients.

“We know that customers trust Walgreens as a resource for important health-related support.”

Updating useful experiences
Walgreens app users in 25 states will now be able to tap the MDLive telehealth services feature, which has been updated and enhanced to offer better integration and functionality.

Telehealth for mobile devices is becoming a lucrative feature for pharmacy and drugstore brands to leverage, as time-strapped consumers look for convenient ways to receive medical care without taking off work or breaking up their otherwise busy schedules.

Walgreens claims that telehealth solutions have improved patient outcomes and received positive customer feedback. App users may engage with MDLive by digitally chatting with a pharmacist or requesting a live doctor consultation.

Consumers who may not want to take the time to book a doctor’s appointment can enjoy the sheer convenience of speaking with a medical professional via smartphone or tablet device, therefore promoting greater health overall.

The drugstore chain leveraged its deep experience in mobile marketing by providing 24/7 access to MDLive’s virtual doctor service beginning in December 2014. The new enhancements do not require users to install and separately launch the MDLive application to start a session.

Residents in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin now have the ability to use the service within Walgreens’ app.

“Customers are choosing to engage with Walgreens in the ways that are most convenient for them,” Ms. Garcia said. “Telemedicine is one of the ways we’re delivering to meet customer needs.”

Rolling out additional rewards
The brand has also introduced a new app to its mobile repertoire. Walgreens Connect aims to offer Balance Rewards loyalty members extra points for measuring their glucose and blood pressure levels daily, highlighting the marketer’s focus on boosting consumer health.

Users must possess a Well at Walgreens blood pressure wrist monitor or connected blood glucose meter to conduct daily measurements. App users will be guided to connect the device, sync their data and receive Balance Rewards points for interacting with the solution.

Walgreens will offer customers 20 points each day for measuring blood glucose and blood pressure, respectively.

The loyalty platform, one of the largest in Walgreens’ sector, boasts more than 500,000 active connected devices, proving that customers are willing to share personal health data in exchange for valuable services that can be done from the comfort of their own home or office.

Walgreens is also streamlining the in-store checkout process as the first retailer to intertwine Apple Pay with its loyalty program, enabling customers to scan only once to pay and receive rewards (see story).

“We believe that engagement in digital health activities helps create a long-lasting health relationship with our customers,” Ms. Garcia said. “We are working to improve patient adherence and increase positive patient outcomes.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely, staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York