First posted 7/12/11 on Health Populi
U.S. employers are taking workers’ health and vitality more seriously in 2011 and for the future, based on their responses to benefit consultants’ surveys on where companies plan to place health spending in their benefit investment portfolios. Wellness is the new health benefit.
With the growth of the retail pharmacy and retail health category, more of these providers see the opportunity to expand their footprint into corporate wellness programs. Walgreens’ subsidiary Take Care is already highly positioned in this space, offering employer health, pharmacy and fitness centers in close to 400 sites in the U.S., including Disney and Intel, along with retail health clinics. Now Walgreens is expanding its corporate offerings through an investment in Core Performance, which built its business on a branded ”Athletes’ Performance” methodology. This approach incorporates fitness and nutrition with metrics to bolster human performance.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: I’ve been forecasting the growth of retail health for several years, and Take Care/Walgreens’ expansion into the corporate wellness market tracks with this expanding forecast. This strategy is the market manifestation of the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin’s observation that health is where we live, work, play, and pray.
Since Walgreens appears to be embracing Dr. Benjamin’s view, it’s interesting to note that the company has been an early adopter of social media compared to its peer companies. It has over one million friends on Facebook, offers a mobile app for consumers’ prescription refills and photo processing, and incorporates Facebook Places and FourSquare into its mobile platforms.
Jane Sarasohn-Kahn is a health economist writing at Health Populi.