Walgreens puts the iPad to work in stores to help customers


Visit a Walgreens near you and you may find employees known as a "health guide" to assist in filling a prescription, easing symptoms of an ailment and more. The pilot program from the Illinois-based company is currently being tested in 16 Chicago area stores.  There, customers will see a full-time employee with an iPad combing the store to help customers in need.

Colin Watts, chief innovation officer for Walgreen Company:

"The concept is meant to create a pharmacy and health care 'help desk' where customers get solutions or referrals for their personal health questions."

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that in addition to helping customers with questions, the use of iPads is also geared towords freeing pharmacists from spending time answering basic questions, allowing them to provide more personal care to those with more advanced inquires.

To implement their new strategy Walgreens challenged software developers to create an app that would be easy to navigate and that combined information from a person’s prescription history at Walgreens with government and online resources.  Walgreens chose a Chicago-based company, M-Healthcoach, out of 24 entrants to create the health guide app.

M-Healthcoach CEO Aamer Ghaffar:

“We are trying to not only improve people’s quality of care, but also to reduce the patient load on doctors, pharmacies and emergency rooms."

The Walgreens initiative is a great one which I hope spreads to all of their stores, and sparks similar programs from other national retailers.

What other retail establishments would you like to see iPads used in and for what purpose(s)?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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