Walgreens CEO: Microsoft Will Help Create ‘Ecosystem’ To Simplify Healthcare
Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Stefano Pessina says the drugstore giant’s partnership with Microsoft will help create an “ecosystem” connecting its drugstores to patients, their insurers and local medical care providers in communities.
In an interview Tuesday morning following the blockbuster announcement that Walgreens has formed a strategic partnership with Microsoft, the Italian billionaire said Microsoft’s products, which include the Azure cloud and artificial intelligence platform, will help Walgreens improve the customer and patient experience as the two giants develop new healthcare delivery models, technology and solutions to help manage chronic conditions. Financial terms of the partnership weren’t disclosed.
“Together, we will reach out to other players in the space to create a true ecosystem that will be really able to facilitate the lives of our customers,” Walgreens CEO Pessina said in a telephone interview. “Without a big technology company behind you, it will not be possible.”
Walgreens is banking on the future healthcare consumer having more control of their choices than they do now. There’s a need, Walgreens and Microsoft say, to more fully integrate the healthcare system through the use of data and the two companies hope to do that through “next-generation health networks, integrated digital-physical experiences and care management solutions.”
“If we put together our network with a cloud and the AI solutions that Microsoft has, we can become a powerful instrument to serve our customers,” Pessina said.
Walgreens and Microsoft say they have each made a multiyear research and development investment to “build health care solutions, improve health outcomes and lower the cost of care.” As part of the partnership, Walgreens will roll out 12 pilot “digital health corners” this year that are “aimed at the merchandising and sale of select health care-related hardware and devices,” the companies said.