Reporter' s notebook: HLTH' s 2020 conference

The HLTH meeting, a gathering of providers, payers and other attendees working on healthcare development, on Monday kicked off the third annual event—virtually.

Technology reporter Jessica Betty Cohen will provide updates and every day observations here throughout the conference.

Mon, Oct. 12

Walgreens COO: ‘The role of the pharmacist is going to be quite different’

The healthcare industry ought to re-evaluate the role pharmacists may play in delivering care in order to patients, according to Alex Gourlay, co-chief operating officer at Walgreens, quarrelling that better use of pharmacists would certainly improve community healthcare.

He envisions a future exactly where pharmacists play a larger role within vaccination, testing and treatment, in addition to working more closely with primary-care doctors, specialists and nurses.

“The role from the pharmacist will be quite different, inch Gourlay said. “Many people don’t know pharmacists in America are the second-most knowledgeable healthcare professionals, after doctors. inch

That’s section of the vision behind Walgreens’ $1 billion dollars investment into primary-care startup VillageMD, under which Walgreens plans to open hundreds of in-store centers with the startup, where the companies have got said Walgreens pharmacists will be a fundamental element of the care team.

Walgreens has already opened 5 in-store clinics with VillageMD within the Houston area.

The companies plan to ramp up to forty clinics by the end of Walgreens’ financial 2021 and more than 500 over the following five years.

Already, more than one-third of flu shots are administered by pharmacists each year, Gourlay said.

He expects to see 30-50% more people receiving a flu photo at Walgreens this year amid the particular COVID-19 pandemic.

But for pharmacists to take on more affected person care responsibilities, “we’ve got to totally free them up … from the jobs of yesterday, ” Gourlay stated, pointing to repetitive tasks such as dispensing tablets into containers plus calling payers as examples. Walgreens is investing in technology that can create those tasks easier for the industry’s 27, 000 pharmacists, he mentioned.