Walgreen has nearly a quarter-million employees and $71.6 billion in revenue. Outside the federal government, it is the largest entity that provides immunizations and vaccinations. How this drugstore chooses to respond to the Affordable Care Act is an important strategy lesson. Geoff Colvin of Fortune asked Walgreen CEO Greg Wasson that question. Wasson identified a major frontline strategic move (“A Drugstore Chain Gets a Modern Makeover” August 12, 2013, pp. 42–46):
“We’re adding nurse practitioners to many of our stores, co-locating them with our pharmacists. We have about 350 stores across the country now where we have a nurse practitioner positioned in an office next to the pharmacist that extends our services beyond pharmaceutical services to acute care, episodic care such as earaches and sore throats . . . We’ve extended into primary care.” (p. 44)
Regardless of what you think of the ACA, you have to admit Walgreen is making a positive move to accommodate the anticipated demand growth in healthcare. Where people go for primary care is changing because concerns for healthcare availability are growing.
As important as healthcare access is, I would like to see a greater emphasis on wellness. The conventional model of treating the symptoms after the disease has struck is immensely inferior to a wellness model of healthcare. Never becoming diseased in the first place will put you miles ahead in this life, both quantitatively and qualitatively.