Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD) is expanding its health coaching program for people with chronic ailments. The pharmacy retailer has acquired Boston-based Health Dialog Services, a health adviser and care analytics provider. Through the new deal, Rite Aid will offer more in-pharmacy health coaching for medical decisions, chronic conditions and wellness, population analytic solutions and consulting services.
Rite Aid has been working with Health Dialog for more than a year on Rite Aid's Health Alliance program in which pharmacists and health care coaches work with patients on health and self-management. Rite Aid said the purchase of Health Dialog Services will allow it to bring Health Alliance to more markets.
The Health Alliance is a pilot program launched last month at select Rite Aid locations in Buffalo, N.Y.; Greensboro, N.C.; and the greater Los Angeles area. Patients with chronic conditions can be recommended to the program by their primary-care physicians. Once admitted, patients work with Rite Aid pharmacists and health care coaches to develop a comprehensive action plan to improve the patient's health.
Retailers in the U.S. operate an estimated 6,000 health clinics across the country. In recent years these clinics have seen a growing number of added services. In December, for example, Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) announced it was expanding its in-store clinic services to include preventive health care provided by its pharmacists. Retailers have ramped up their clinic services as pharmacies become the most accessible providers of health care amid rising medical and insurance costs that are out of reach for cash-strapped consumers.
Rite Aid operates approximately 4,600 stores in 31 states. Through the acquisition, Boston-based Health Dialog will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Rite Aid.
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