Q&A: Walgreens CMO on VillageMD closures

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last week, Walgreens is proud to announce that VillageMD, a technology-enabled value-based care provider, Florida clinic closed Earlier this week, in an effort to improve profitability. Confirmed by Beckers The company plans to close all clinics in Illinois in April.

Dr. Sashi Moodley, Walgreens Chief Medical Officer, said: Mobi Health News On ViVE24, we discuss Walgreens’ efforts in healthcare and the current status of the VillageMD clinic closure.

Mobi Health News: Could you give us an overview of Walgreens’ current efforts in the healthcare space?

Dr. Sashi Moodley: There’s definitely a lot going on. If you’ve seen the headlines over the past few months, We have launched a new virtual care program That means live shows will be held in nine states. At the moment it’s direct-to-consumer, but over time I think we’ll try to establish a network with insurance and expand our set of terms. We also hope to expand the states we serve over time. But so far, the demand for this service has been pretty high, and it’s kind of great to see stories of patients having a seamless experience.

If you backtrack a little bit, if you look at where patients go for non-emergency, less major issues, 50% of patients go to the pharmacy as their first stop. And while we now offer a variety of over-the-counter diagnostic tests and other treatments to patients, for example, if a consumer buys urine test strips and tests positive, they should seek medical attention. You have to find an appointment or go to an urgent care or urgent care hospital. We all know that it can sometimes be very inconvenient to take weeks to get an appointment.

So what we want to do is address that unmet need and create a very seamless experience for patients. For example, if a person tests positive, he can go home and see a doctor within 15 minutes, receive antibiotics if warranted, and have them sent to the pharmacy of his choice. , at Walgreens, you can pick it up the same day or have it delivered to your door. We want to blend that physical and digital experience for patients.

MHN: Consumers embraced virtual care during the pandemic, but that enthusiasm may be waning, with VillageMD closing many clinics. How is Walgreens seeing patient interest in using this technology?

Dr. Moodley: So virtual care is one of the many modalities that we have. If we step back a little bit, I think we have 10 million interactions a day with consumers across the country. They’re being done through all different channels: digital, in-store, and even in-store. -Personal care delivery company. So we try to tailor the experience to the patients that we serve because every patient is a little bit different and so is their care.

So something like virtual care lends itself well to a direct-to-consumer model, one where cash payments are more likely. And on the other side of the spectrum are care delivery models that are in a much better position than value-based care models, and we do both.

So it’s not “or”, it’s “and”, right? Because we serve so many people across the country with diverse needs, we seek to tailor our care models to meet what our patients really want. And we try to be consumer-centric, that’s our DNA as a retailer.And that would be my take on this – it’s not this This and that, and this and that, and how do we get our patients involved in the way they want to be involved? And over time, as their preferences change, we continue to adapt. I think it will be like this.

MHN: What kind of testing does the company do to ensure it is adapting to consumer demands?

Dr. Moodley: I think virtual care is a great example of launching a discrete set of services into nine markets to test what the demand is. So, how much do patients actually want to pay? Are we actually providing a better experience than what they’re currently getting? And, you know, once we have this evidence, , we will continue to iterate and launch new services. And hopefully over the next few months you’ll see us continue to grow and expand. I think we always try to center the consumer, the patient, and really understand what the experience is like through their lens. Then go back to the drawing board and iterate as needed to scale specific models or locations. We see things that may not be working the way we want them to and deprioritize them.

MHN: What challenges does Walgreens face?

Dr. Moodley: We’re looking at different models and trying to figure out which ones to prioritize in which markets. We have a lot of different solutions and we’re really looking at how we can build density and centers of excellence in different markets. So it’s a continuous practice.

So I think we have a lot going on, but we’re trying to prioritize and decide which models to focus on and which regions to focus on. We also know that there is a huge opportunity to work with physicians that we don’t necessarily employ, whether it’s independent physicians, private practices, medical groups or even health systems. There are many things you can do there. So I think over time we’ll be extending some of these models.

MHN: How do you solve those problems?

Dr. Moodley: It’s an iterative process. As you mentioned, [VillageMD] closure. I think we’re learning as we go. At the end of the day, we want to achieve a scalable and sustainable clinical model that delivers high quality care and reduces costs.

And, as you said, patient preferences change, so you have to adapt to that. So I think we need to continue to be as nimble as ever. And as we learn what’s working and where we want to focus, our model evolves, prioritizing certain areas and deprioritizing others, as I mentioned earlier. We will continue to look at this in the future.

MHN: Did that happen? [VillageMD] closure? Did some of the things your company thought would be hits not turn out to be hits?

Dr. Moodley: Again, it goes back to focusing on where there is density and where we can deliver on the promise of providing high-quality care. I think there are many things we can do. The company is a very large company, with 9,000 stores in so many states and everything in between. And we want to focus on the areas where we can create the most value.

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