Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) customers in select states can now utilize the company’s latest telehealth offering, an app that enables virtual doctor visits via a person’s smartphone.
The move is the result of an integration between the Deerfield, Ill.-based national drugstore chain and MDLIVE, a telehealth services provider headquartered in Sunrise, Fla.
Users of Walgreens’ website in California and Michigan will have 24/7 access to U.S. board-certified doctors through its mobile application available in both iOS and Android versions, as well as the ability to consult virtually with MDLIVE physicians for a range of acute conditions.
“Offering mobile and virtual access to board-certified doctors is a natural extension of the robust use range of health services that Walgreens already offers,” said Dr. Harry Leider, chief medical officer for Walgreens. “We’re delighted to work with MDLIVE to provide our patients with a leading telehealth solution that will allow them to conveniently address their health conditions and needs with a medical professional.”
The telehealth move isn’t an entirely far stretch for Walgreens. Last year, the company launched its Pharmacy Chat feature, which allows users to live chat 24/7 with members of its pharmacy staff.
With this week’s announcement, Walgreens now adds virtual physician visits to its evolving telehealth platform.
“We are thrilled to work with Walgreens to offer consumers more choice for convenient, quality and cost-effective care,” said MDLIVE CEO Randy Parker in a written statement. “For the first time, a drugstore’s website and mobile app users can share the convenience of accessing a board-certified doctor who can also e-prescribe medication when appropriate, via a secure, online video platform.”
Earlier this year, MDLIVE was part of an initiative to bring telehealth into the mainstream through a partnership between several telemedicine firms, tech companies and drugstores, including Walgreens and competitor CVS (NYSE: CVS).
Though the Walgreens telehealth app is only available to users in two states for the time being, the company stated in a release that it has plans to rollout the service offering to additional states and markets over time.
Walgreens currently operates 8,218 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In fiscal year 2014, the company reported sales of $76 billion.
Written by Jason Oliva