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Walgreens launches Center for Health & Wellbeing Research

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Walgreens announced the launch of its Center for Health & Wellbeing Research, a website that features more than 50 Walgreens outcomes studies completed over the past six years. Areas of research include access to care and patient experience, adherence and clinical outcomes, digital health and member engagement, health care costs, HIV and specialty pharmacy, vaccinations and more.

Visitors to the site will find summaries, links and original documents related to company research reports and studies that have been published in peer-reviewed medical and health care publications, as well as presented at scientific and industry conferences.

“We are thrilled to be unveiling the Walgreens Center for Health & Wellbeing Research,” said Harry Leider, M.D., chief medical officer and group vice president, Walgreens. “Our goal is, through scientific research, to help improve patient care and outcomes while lowering health care costs. We are dedicated to providing value to health care on a national scale and the Walgreens Center for Health & Wellbeing Research will showcase the work we are doing every day to advance that mission.”

Walgreens is working with academic institutions on its research, including Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Scripps Translational Science Institute, the University of California, San Francisco – School of Pharmacy and the University of Chicago Medicine. The institutions provide guidance, specialized expertise, and industry insights that contribute to the Walgreens outcomes research agenda. Researchers from Walgreens and these institutions actively collaborate on a variety of research studies.

“Walgreens has been a valued partner in a long-standing and productive collaboration, which has given our clinical and research faculty the opportunity to develop, implement and evaluate novel programs to reach patients where they are to improve their access to quality care,” said Jeanne M. Clark, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins medical director for its collaboration with Walgreens. “We are looking forward to continuing our work together.”

The Walgreens Center for Health & Wellbeing Research is led by a team of more than 25 Walgreens health services researchers, clinicians, statisticians, public health practitioners, actuaries and data scientists, including:

  • Harry L. Leider, MD, MBA, FACPE, chief medical officer and group vice president
  • Michael S. Taitel, PhD: senior director of health analytics, research and reporting
  • Heather Kirkham, PhD, MPH: director of health analytics, research and reporting

Recent research from the team includes:

  • A study of pharmacy patients enrolled in Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Medicare Part D), published in Patient Preference & Adherence, which found that patients who were late to refill prescriptions and who received reminder calls from local Walgreens pharmacists, demonstrated nearly 23% greater adherence within the first 14 days of the expected refill date.
  • A study presented at the 22nd Annual International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research Annual International Meeting in Boston, exploring length of therapy and factors associated with HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication adherence, which demonstrated significantly higher adherence among older age groups, males, users of HIV-specialized services and those with private insurance. The study found that patients used PrEP on average for seven to eight months in the first year.
  • A study from Walgreens and Inovalon which examined the effectiveness of the Walgreens Connected Care Cystic Fibrosis (CF) program compared to a matched sample of control patients. The study found that CF patients have better outcomes when enrolled in a pharmacy-based comprehensive therapy management program. The study was presented at the 30th Annual North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference in Orlando, Florida.
  • A collaborative study with the Scripps Translational Science Institute published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, whichevaluated health data self-tracking characteristics of individuals enrolled in the Walgreens Balance Rewards for healthy choices (BRhc) program, including the impact of manual versus automatic data entries through a supported device or apps. The study demonstrated that 77% of users manually recorded their activities and participated in the program for an average of five weeks. However, users who entered activities automatically using the BRhc supported devices or apps remained engaged four times longer and averaged 20 weeks of participation.

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