Walgreens Stores Becoming More Like Doctor’s Offices?

Find out how your local Walgreens may start looking less and less like a pharmacy and more and more like a doctor's office.

By Kristi Eckert | Published

walgreens store

Stores like CVS and Walgreens have been putting a lot of effort into revising their business models, adjusting their store layouts, and bolstering the amount of health care services they offer. In California and New Jersey though, Walgreens is taking its efforts to the next level in terms of what kind of medical services it will offer its patrons. In fact, CNBC reported that it’s all part of Walgreens’ plan to make their stores more like medical facilities instead of just pharmacies.

Walgreens has already embarked on the first step in achieving its vision by introducing what it is calling Health Corners to customers residing in Los Angeles and San Francisco as well as in various areas in New Jersey. Walgreens described these Health Corners as places where customers will be able to go to talk with a nurse or pharmacist about any medical questions or needs they may have. Additionally, Health Corners will be equipped to adequately treat those with medical maladies such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

In California, Heather Corners are being made possible because of a collective effort between Walgreens and the California-based insurance company Blue Shield. Those covered by Blue Shield currently can greatly benefit from Health Corners, as the services offered are completely covered. However, those out of network can still take advantage of Heath Corners for a cost that would be determined at the time of a visit. At present, Heath Corners can be found at 12 locations split between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

In New Jersey, there are a great many more Heath Corners already in service. Heather Corners can be found at a total of 36 Walgreens across the state. The Heather Corners in New Jersey are made possible by a collaboration between Walgreens and Clover Health.

Health Corners and the services that they offer are still in their infancy. However, in the long term, by having Health Corners, Walgreens is aiming to fill a void that exists in places coined as “healthcare deserts.” A healthcare desert is a place where the number of people with serious illnesses and chronic diseases significantly outweighs the number of accessible healthcare facilities. The Chief Clinical Officer for Walgreens Health, Dr. Sashi Moodley, expressed her hope that Health Corners will serve as a haven where people suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes can go to be seen in non-emergent situations or when they are in between regularly scheduled doctor visits.

Moodley’s hopes for Heath Corners are backed by a lot of merit, especially for those suffering from chronic illnesses. For instance, instead of potentially going to the ER for something small when a patient’s primary doctor isn’t available, a patient could instead visit a Walgreens Heath Corner for a fraction of what they would have paid should they have visited the hospital. Additionally, Heath Corners could also be used to better preventative care in places that lack adequate medical centers and physicians.

Walgreens’ big dreams for bettering people’s health don’t start and end with its Health Corners. The company also announced its intentions to integrate robots into its pharmacies so that prescriptions can be filled more efficiently in the coming years.