5 potential new digital health partnerships from the Walgreens-Rite Aid deal

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As Walgreens and Rite Aid finalize plans and details of their acquisition, the two companies are also facing a joining of digital health partnerships and projects.

Both retail pharmacies have several existing partnerships in the digital health sphere, and the Walgreens' acquisition of Rite Aid may boost the merged organization's standing in the digital sphere.

Here are five digital health partnerships from Walgreens and Rite Aid, as presented by mobihealthnews.

1. Walgreens' Balance Rewards program is a digital health platform encouraging healthy behaviors for members. Consumers can track rewards and record health information, and healthy behaviors turn into retail consumer rewards. Walgreens also partners with Qualcomm Life and UnitedHealthcare as part of its Balance Rewards program.

2. Walgreens also offers telehealth services through MD Live, and has digital health partnerships with PatientsLikeMe, WebMD and iTriage, an appointment booking service. Rite Aid used to offer telemedicine services through Optum, but discontinued that service, according to the report.

3. Rite Aid currently offers mobile app prescription refills, though mobihealthnews reports the organization started doing so two years after Walgreens did.

4. However, Rite Aid does have a partnership with health kiosk company higi. More than 4,000 higi kiosks are deployed in Rite Aid stores. At the kiosks, customers can take vital signs to have a picture of their overall wellness. Customers are rewarded for visiting kiosks regularly with HigiWatts, which they can redeem with other retailers.

5. Additionally, Rite Aid has a deal with GreatCall, which makes smartphones and flip phones for seniors. Rite Aid sells GreatCall's phones, and GreatCall preloads the phones with Rite Aid's mobile app with a special user interface for older customers.

Walgreens may not necessarily integrate or expand these partnerships following the acquisition, but mobihealthnews reports the company has a history of collaborations and partnerships, quoting Walgreens President Alex Gourlay at HIMSS last year saying, "We know as a brand and believe as a brand that innovation is critical….it's really important to Walgreens-Boots Alliance, it's incredibly important to the healthcare market here in the U.S. that we work together to create better solutions."

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