Walgreens Goes Big on Telemedicine Including New Behavioral Health Service

This was extremely big news for Telehealth in general, but even more so from a mental and behavioral health perspective. In case you missed the news, Walgreens and MDLIVE are partnering to offer telehealth and behavioral telehealth services (technically MDLIVE is partnering with Breakthrough for the behavioral health piece).

Walgreens involvement in telemedicine is such a big deal and is going to really push telemedicine much faster than it’s already going. Currently they can offer their telehealth medical services in 37 states (this announcement added 13 states). Here’s the type of services you can receive through these services:

  • Acne
  • Allergies
  • Cold / Flu
  • Constipation
  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Ear problems
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Insect bites
  • Nausea / Vomiting
  • Pink eye
  • Rash
  • Respiratory problems
  • Sore throats
  • Urinary problems / UTI
  • Vaginitis
  • And more

On the behavioral telehealth front, you can get non prescription services in all 50 states and behavioral health prescribing services will be available in 20 states. Here’s a look at the list of services they can offer in behavioral health:

  • Addictions
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Child and adolescent issues
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender issues
  • Grief and loss
  • Life changes
  • Men’s issues
  • Panic disorders
  • Parenting issues
  • Postpartum depression
  • Relationship and marriage issues
  • Stress
  • Trauma and PTSD
  • Women’s issues
  • And more

This announcement has been met by much rejoicing in the mental health community. I think that many of them see these telehealth services as a great way to get more mental health services out to patients who wouldn’t otherwise get treatment. It sure feels like telehealth has finally arrived.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

4 Comments

  • At one point in my life (in the late 90’s – before smartphones) I reached out to my favorite therapist, whom we had moved away from (out of state) because of work. I was having a difficult time with something, and hadn’t found a replacement that was a “good fit” in my new hometown. I was desperate to get help and guidance, and I knew she could provide it, but there was no way I could travel to see her. I called her and asked if there was any way we could do a phone consult, but she said she just wasn’t comfortable with that method because she couldn’t read physical cues and felt that was important. I understood, but was really disappointed that I couldn’t get the help I needed from the clinician I trusted.

    I imagine there are still issues to smooth out (the telemedicine informed consent document listed on the site lays out some of those – like the risk of intercepted medical information during transmission. https://breakthrough-production.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/5313/original/Telemedicine_Informed_Consent.pdf) But I think telehealth has arrived, probably makes sense, and is likely here to stay. As long as insurance agrees to go along.

  • Karen,
    Thanks for sharing the personal story. It’s interesting to think about this a few years later with video streaming basically ubiquitous. I wonder if she’d have given you the same response.

    No doubt there are challenges to deal with, but it’s nice that now the challenges aren’t technical.

  • John – I think there’s no doubt she would have “seen” me had telemedicine been available. We had a good clinician/patient relationship, and she would have known my history.

    Along those lines, imagine the revenue gain for docs (especially in private practice) in this situation – your clients move away, but keeps seeing you. I have to wonder if someday our healthcare team will be like our (smart)phone numbers – we move, but they stay the same! (Remember when you area code was about where you currently lived?)

  • Karen,
    The interesting challenge is that most doctors I know don’t have an issue with not enough patients. Most have too many patients. So, if they just replace a remote patient with a local patient, that’s not a revenue gain for them. Of course, if telemedicine means they can see more patients, then it would be a gain. There could be other gains as we move to value based reimbursement too.

    Your vision is interesting though. My accountant moved out of state and I kept him. There was no reason for me to go with someone else local. We did everything virtually even when he was local. No reason this model couldn’t apply to much of healthcare.

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