The news: NY-based health system Northwell Health and Walgreens announced a five-year strategic partnership to improve population health and advance health equity in NY communities by expanding digital and retail health services to Walgreens consumers and Northwell patients and employees.
What this looks like: Northwell Health’s telehealth services (powered by Amwell) will be available through Walgreens' Find Care platform, and Walgreens’ pharmacy services will become an in-network benefit for Northwell employees.
Why it matters: Health systems are partnering with retail health companies because they offer something health systems lack: convenience and accessibility.
Convenience is key: 77% of US consumers have one or more prescriptions that require regular pharmacy visits, and of those, 56% said they would consider retail health visits, per Upshow’s 2021 survey.
It’s not hard to imagine why so many consumers are interested in using retail health clinics for healthcare visits: Around half of retail health appointments happen after hours—which is often more convenient than appointments at health system locations during normal business hours.
What’s in it for Northwell, which already has a large footprint in New York State? It could be a preemptive move for the health system to shield itself from competitors that are moving in on the retail health and primary care space in NY.
Walgreens doubled down on its VillageMD partnership in the past year—so why isn’t VillageMD part of the deal? Northwell Health has significant brand recognition among New York-based patients—Walgreens could capture more consumers with Northwell-affiliated retail health clinics than it would with VillageMD.
Market snapshot: We estimate that retail clinic patients will grow to 69.5 million (26.4% of the US population) by 2022—up from 48.7 million (19.2% of the US population) in 2018.
Go deeper: Curious about how the pandemic shaped the trajectory of retail health clinics? Check out our recent note: How retail health clinics are banking on the COVID-19 bump.