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Walgreens, WebMD take early lead in mobile health market

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Walgreens, WebMD take early lead in mobile health market
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Mobile health and fitness apps have flooded app stores with thousands of choices to select from. Tracking one’s personal health care via a smartphone has been dubbed mhealth, short for mobile health, and is believed by some professionals to be the future of health care. The concept of mhealth is edgy to many consumers however, and a long road to adoption lies ahead as consumers continue to facilitate their health care needs through traditional means.

Taking a leadership role in mhealth and getting a jump start on industry competitors, Walgreens recently announced a partnership with WebMD with intention of integrating loyalty technology into a smartphone-based health app. A spokesperson from WebMD said “WebMD and Walgreens have a shared mission to improve health and wellness by empowering decision-making and motivating positive action. Working together, we will accelerate both companies’ efforts to realize this critical goal.”

The joint venture will give birth to the Your Digital Health Advisor app which is fully compatible and integrated with Walgreens Balance Rewards. This “coaching” app will reward users for reaching specific health or fitness goals in addition to receiving Balance Rewards incentives. The Your Digital Health Advisor app will support third-party devices and offer personalized behavior tracking to further assist users to meet their fitness goals.

“Walgreens sees some 8 million customers a day, and WebMD has 66 million unique visitors each month, so combined we have greater opportunities to create touch points with consumers at an enormous scale to help consumers improve health and wellness by empowering decision-making and motivating positive action,” said a WebMD spokesman.

The collaboration between Walgreens and WebMD will benefit each by opening access to a larger consumer base. This high-profile partnership from a powerhouse such as a Walgreens and WebMD will go a long way towards sparking faster adoption of mhealth by other brands across the health care industry.

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