Walgreens' A-Team transforming pharmacy retail on multiple fronts

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WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — Man, you gotta love it when a plan comes together. In the past week, two stories broke that will help position Walgreens at the top of their A-game. One is the announcement of Walgreens' entree into the loyalty card arena in just a few short weeks; the other is a huge technology news of Walgreens' rollout of an electronic health record across the company's entire platform. And all this not too long after announcing a blockbuster partnership with Alliance Boots and not too long before Walgreens rejoins the Express Scripts pharmacy network.

(THE NEWS: Study: Walgreens weeks away from entering the loyalty program market with Balance Rewards. For the full story, click here.)

It's actually a little hard to discern which of these stories is the bigger deal. The card is about customer experience and engagement; the EHR is about expanding the role of community pharmacy.

And they're both about improving health outcomes.

In addition to rewarding shopping behavior, Balance Rewards has a strong better-health component, such as its link to the company's Walk with Walgreens program. And EHR will help Walgreens' health practitioners better manage a patient's condition.

These initiatives will enable two out of Walgreens' five key strategic goals. How, you ask? Well, you'll just have to tune into the next issue of DSN. DSN will examine every aspect of Walgreens in our exclusive, in-depth Sept. 24 report on the company and how it is transforming every aspect of its business — from the back end to the back bench; and from customers and patients to employers and payers. It'll be a "can't-miss" event.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.

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