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January 15, 2019

Walgreens, Microsoft teaming up to offer new digital health care services

Partnership aims to improve health outcomes and lower the cost of care

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walgreens flickr Mike Mozart/Flickr

In what the tech world is calling a “blockbuster partnership,” Walgreens announced on Tuesday a strategic alliance with Microsoft Corp. to "develop new health care delivery models, technology and retail innovations to advance and improve the future of health care," Forbes reports.  

The two corporations have agreed to a seven-year deal that will focus on virtually — as in, through the internet — connecting customers with Walgreens stores and services that will suit their therapeutic needs ranging from preventative self-care to chronic disease management, Reuters reports. 

The companies plan to combine the power of Azure, Microsoft’s cloud and AI platform, and "health care investments and new retail solutions" with the reach of Walgreens' more than 8,000 U.S. stores, plus retail locations around the world, Forbes notes.

RELATED READ: Telemedicine offers new possibilities – but payment challenges abound

Both Walgreens and Microsoft say they have each made “multi-year research and development investments to build health care solutions, improve health outcomes and lower the cost of care," according to Walgreen's news release. As part of the partnership, Walgreens will roll out 12 pilot "digital health corners” in 2019 that are "aimed at the merchandising and sale of select health care-related hardware and devices," the release states.

This new venture comes after CVS Health obtained Aetna, a huge health insurer, last month and Amazon purchased an online pharmacy last year, Forbes explains. Health care is becoming a competitive business market. 

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