DEERFIELD, IL, and BOSTON, MA -- Walgreens, the nation's largest drugstore chain, and Joslin Diabetes Center, the global leader in diabetes research, care and education, have formed a sweeping alliance to improve health outcomes for Americans with diabetes. Over the next five years, Walgreens and Joslin, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, will develop and deliver awareness, wellness, prevention and education programs nationally to reach the estimated 21 million Americans with diabetes and the additional 41 million Americans at risk for the disease. Walgreens also will open a specialty pharmacy on the Joslin campus under a separate lease arrangement.
"Diabetes in America continues to grow at epidemic proportions, and there are too few endocrinologists to handle that many patients," said Ron Weinert, vice president of patient services for Walgreens Health Services, the managed care division of Walgreen Co. "The burden of care is falling to primary care physicians and ultimately the patients, many of whom are our customers. We know the Joslin approach to education, outreach and disease management improves outcomes for people with diabetes, and our alliance is specifically designed to increase access to Joslin's model for everyone we reach."
The alliance will leverage all of Joslin's expertise in diabetes awareness, prevention and management. This expertise will be applied across Walgreens consumer channels, including its nationwide network of pharmacies, Walgreens.com and Walgreens Health Initiatives (a pharmacy benefit manager).
"This alliance represents a new model of care, powered by Joslin's deep research and extensive clinical knowledge, and distributed 'from bench to bedside' to the community through Walgreens pharmacies," said C. Ronald Kahn, M.D., President of Joslin and the Mary K. Iacocca Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "The incomparable reach of Walgreens and its deep commitment to the health of its customers make it our ideal alliance partner as Joslin strives to deliver our model of patient empowerment and the aggressive identification and prevention of complications across the country."
Pharmacy-Based Resources for People with Diabetes
A cornerstone of the program will be the creation of pharmacy-based resources for diabetes prevention and care. Working together, Walgreens and Joslin will design and build enhanced training curricula, continuing education programs, and practical support tools that pharmacists can use to address the most important needs of patients, from managing medication regimens to understanding key individual health measures like blood pressure and A1C scores.
"Our joint vision is for the Walgreens pharmacist to be a true partner for customers with diabetes and their physicians, and to enable them to work together toward demonstrable and measurable changes in behavior and health outcomes," said Alan M. Jacobson, M.D., Senior Vice President, Joslin Strategic Initiatives Division. "Joslin will design approaches and then assess and report on their impact on Walgreens customers, and we will continually enhance and add to the program over time."
In the first months of the alliance, Walgreens and Joslin will launch initial patient education campaigns delivered through the Walgreens pharmacy that carefully target critical aspects of day-to-day diabetes management and the prevention of complications. The campaigns will include education handouts, tips and tools tailored to specific patient audiences, including the elderly and different ethnic groups disproportionately affected by diabetes. Aspects of the campaign will be visible on pharmacy prescription inserts, Walgreens.com, Walgreens Diabetes & You Magazine, and other communication vehicles.
Joslin and Walgreens are also jointly committed to developing breakthrough approaches over the long term that increase access to innovative health services for people with diabetes. The alliance will explore the possibility of installing the Joslin Vision Network tm (JVN) in select locations across the Walgreens chain. The JVN is the most thoroughly validated diagnostic retinal imaging service offering patients a pain-free and non-dilated diabetic eye evaluation that facilitates further examination by eye care specialists to treat diabetic retinopathy and other pathologies.
The JVN is already in use at more than 50 clinical sites in 15 states.
"Diabetes is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among working age adults in the United States, and yet most patients do not receive recommended care," continued Jacobson, who also directs Joslin's Behavioral Research Program and Clinic and is Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. "Our Walgreens alliance may allow us to bring Joslin's proven techniques in managing eye disease to the millions of Americans across the country at risk of losing their vision from diabetic retinopathy."
New Flagship Pharmacy on Joslin Campus in Boston
Walgreens also intends to open, on the Joslin Campus in Boston's Longwood Medical Area, a specialty pharmacy designed to meet the needs of people with diabetes. "We see this pharmacy as the flagship of our presence in the Harvard medical community," said Weinert. "We expect the pharmacy to open in the first quarter of 2007."
About Diabetes in America
Diabetes affects an estimated 20.8 million children and adults in the United States -- 7 percent of the population.
An estimated 14.6 million people in this country have been diagnosed, leaving 6.2 million unaware that they have the disease. In addition, 41 million Americans are thought to have pre-diabetes, or elevated blood glucose levels that put them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. If untreated or poorly treated, diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney disease, stroke, nerve damage and limb amputations.
Walgreen Co. is the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2006 sales of $47.4 billion. The company operates 5,461 stores in 47 states and Puerto Rico, and plans to operate more than 7,000 stores by 2010. Walgreens also provides additional services to pharmacy patients and prescription drug and medical plans through Walgreens Health Initiatives (a pharmacy benefits manager), Walgreens Mail Service, Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy and Walgreens Home Care.
About Joslin Diabetes Center
Joslin Diabetes Center, dedicated to conquering diabetes in all of its forms, is the global leader in diabetes research, care and education. Founded in 1898, Joslin is an independent nonprofit institution affiliated with Harvard Medical School. Joslin research is a team of more than 300 people at the forefront of discovery aimed at preventing and curing diabetes. Joslin Clinic, affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, the nationwide network of Joslin Affiliated Programs, and the hundreds of Joslin educational programs offered each year for clinicians, researchers and patients, enable Joslin to develop, implement and share innovations that immeasurably improve the lives of people with diabetes. As a nonprofit, Joslin benefits from the generosity of donors in advancing its mission. For more information on Joslin, call 1-800-JOSLIN-1 or visit www.joslin.org.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.