WBA planning to unveil tech-enabled healthcare start-up

David Salazar
Managing Editor

Walgreens Boots Alliance is set to unveil a tech-enabled healthcare startup later this year, according to a presentation at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. 

WBA co-COO Alex Gourlay and CFO James Kehoe shared the news on a conference call Thursday with J.P. Morgan’s Lisa Gill, which also included updates on the company’s other recent moves, including its sale of Alliance Health to AmerisourceBergen, its partnership with Synchrony and Mastercard, and its recent investment in iA. 

The forthcoming venture, which Kehoe said would launch in its fiscal fourth quarter, is described in WBA’s presentation as “an integrated digital and physical, consumer-centric, technology-enabled healthcare delivery model, personalized for local communities.”

“We have a team of approximately 200 people — internal and external — hired from tech, healthcare, West Coast companies,” Kehoe said Their ultimate goal is to develop an integrated digital and physical consumer centric healthcare delivery model. The final outcome and the ultimate outcome is improved health outcomes for patients and lower overall costs in the health system.”

He also noted that Walgreens is uniquely positioned — with its brand equity, its store footprint and its pharmacist and pharmacist technician workforce — to help simplify healthcare delivery via a single platform. 

“This all lies on customer engagement and it's the interface between digital and physical,” Kehoe said. “We don't believe that digital-only platform can be successful and we don't believe that a physical-only platform can be successful. It's the intersection of the two and offering every single patient their choice about how they want to interface on managing their personal healthcare.”

Kehoe described the effort as a “company within a company” that WBA will allow to work at a faster pace than the overall enterprise, with separate incentives. 

“We will treat it and act like a sartup to move quickly in an industry that’s moving incredible quickly.”

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