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Healthcare informatics

Walgreens Boots Alliance partners with Microsoft to develop 'new healthcare delivery models'

Microsoft will become Walgreens Boots Alliance’s strategic cloud provider, with a focus on developing digital and virtual health care models. 

Microsoft logo on building

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The deal will see Office 365 and Microsoft Azure infrastructure rolled-out to Walgreens Boots Alliance pharmacies across the UK and the United States

Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) and Microsoft have signed a seven-year deal that will see the technology company become the IT system provider for Boots pharmacies.

According to a statement from WBA, the parent company of Boots UK, the deal will also see the development of “new healthcare delivery models”, such as “virtual care” on patients’ digital devices.

The deal, which was announced on 15 January 2019, aims to “engage [Boots’s] patients to improve medication adherence, reduce emergency room visits and decrease hospital readmissions”.

Stefano Pessina, executive vice chair and chief executive officer of WBA, said that the “strategic partnership with Microsoft demonstrates our strong commitment to creating integrated, next-generation, digitally enabled healthcare delivery solutions for our customers, transforming our stores into modern neighbourhood health destinations and expanding customer offerings”.

The statement added that the partnership, which will involve WBA pharmacies in both the United States and the UK, “will focus on connecting WBA stores and health information systems to people wherever they are through their digital devices”.

“This will allow people to access health care services, such as virtual care — when, where and how they need it,” it said.

Through the agreement with Microsoft, WBA “plans to migrate the majority of the company’s IT infrastructure onto Microsoft Azure”, the tech company’s cloud service.

“This will include new transformational platforms in retail, pharmacy and business services, new capability in data and analytics, as well as certain legacy applications and systems,” WBA said, adding that the company also plans to roll out Microsoft 365 software to more than 380,000 employees and stores globally to provide increased productivity and security.

On 24 December 2018, Boots UK announced that it had bought health technology company Wiggly-Amps with plans to allow patients to order prescriptions online by linking with their GP records.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206021

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