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Walgreens and STSI study suggest that automated health tracking can improve long-term health engagement

Connected devices and apps eliminating the need for manual tracking drive better long-term engagement in healthy activities, study shows

DEERFIELD, Ill., 2016-Dec-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — Walgreens today (December 12, 2016) announced findings from a collaborative study with the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) suggesting that automated health tracking can significantly improve long-term health engagement. The study examined utilization patterns of participants in Walgreens Balance Rewards for healthy choices® (BRhc), an industry leading, self-monitoring program that allows members to track health activities and receive incentives for continued tracking and healthy behaviors. It explored the impact of manual versus automatic data entries through a supported device or via apps, the study results were recently published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.1

The researchers examined activity tracking data – including exercise, weight, sleep, blood pressure, blood glucose data recorded, tobacco use and oxygen saturation – from more than 450,000 BRhc members in 2014. After identifying users with sufficient follow-up data, the study explored trends in participation over time. The results demonstrated that 77 percent of users manually recorded their activities and participated in the program for an average of five weeks. However, users who entered activities automatically using the BRhc supported devices or apps remained engaged four times longer and averaged 20 weeks of participation.

“This is the first chapter of a remarkable collaboration with Walgreens, enabling us to understand real world connectivity with mobile device health applications, along with behavior and outcome patterns, in an exceptionally large and diverse cohort,” said Eric Topol, MD, director, STSI.

“Consumers are increasingly more engaged in their own healthcare and wellness. Digital technology that enables easy data tracking of healthy behaviors, combined with incentives, and trusted professional support, provide additional motivation for our customers to more easily manage their health,” said Harry Leider, M.D., chief medical officer, Walgreens. “We’re especially encouraged by the results of this study. In the two years since it was initiated, we’ve seen a shift from the majority of members in the program tracking their activities manually, to most now tracking them automatically. We’re pleased to continue our relationship with Scripps to advance our work in a way that results in a positive impact on behaviors and outcomes.”

The Walgreens Balance Rewards for healthy choices program can be accessed either online or through the Walgreens mobile app. One of the main features of the program is the use of existing consumer incentives to motivate voluntary participation. Through participation in BRhc, members receive loyalty points redeemable for discounts on purchases. For more information about Walgreens Balance Rewards for healthy choices, please visit

This research was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through a grant UL1TR001114, and a grant from the Qualcomm Foundation.

STSI is a National Institutes of Health-sponsored site in San Diego that merges the considerable biomedical science expertise of The Scripps Research Institute with Scripps Health’s exceptional patient care and clinical research capabilities. This innovative research partnership is leading the effort to translate wireless and genetic medical technologies into high-quality, cost-effective treatments and diagnostics for patients.

About Walgreens

Walgreens (, one of the nation’s largest drugstore chains, is included in the Retail Pharmacy USA Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. More than 10 million customers interact with Walgreens each day in communities across America, using the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice. Walgreens operates 8,175 drugstores with a presence in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Walgreens omnichannel business includes and Approximately 400 Walgreens stores offer Healthcare Clinic or other provider retail clinic services.

1 Ju Young Kim, Nathan E Wineinger, Michael Taitel, Jennifer M Radin, Osayi Akinbosoye, Jenny Jiang, Nima Nikzad, Gregory Orr, Eric Topol, Steve Steinhubl. Self-Monitoring Utilization Patterns Among Individuals in an Incentivized Program for Healthy Behaviors. J Med Internet Res 2016 (Nov 17); 18(11):e292.


Scott Goldberg
(847) 315-7649

Source: Walgreens

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