Walgreens teams up with Microsoft to launch 'health corners'

Walgreens is opening its first "health corners" in stores this month, roughly a year after striking a partnership with Microsoft to create the pharmacy of the future, according to Business Insider.

Walgreens is piloting the "health corners" at 12 pharmacies in Tennessee. The pilot sites will feature two clinic-like rooms, where patients can meet with a pharmacist to discuss medications and health-tech devices. This is a different approach than Walgreens is taking with its retail clinics, which are staffed by nurse practitioners and other clinicians, according to the report.

As part of the partnership entered into last year, Microsoft manages Walgreens' data storage, and the pharmacy chain leverages Microsoft's AI platform and retail solutions. After the "health corners" launch, Microsoft will help analyze the visits to develop a model that works best for Walgreens' customers, Walgreens Vice President of Innovation Jared Josleyn told Business Insider.

Walgreens' strategy hinges on partnerships with various companies, including Microsoft, Kroger, Jenny Craig, Humana, VillageMD and UnitedHealth. Though the company has faced criticism for its approach, it has defended its strategy. However, CFO James Kehoe recently acknowledged Walgreens should be more decisive about which partnerships the company wants to expand, according to the report.

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