Walgreen Co. and Johns Hopkins Medicine have entered an agreement to spur collaboration on population-based research and jointly review and develop protocols to improve the health outcomes of patients with chronic diseases.

Walgreens, Johns Hopkins Medicine, disease management, chronic diseases, health care, patient outcomes, community pharmacists, Kermit Crawford, chronic disease management, health care protocols, population-based research, clinical programs, health plan services, Fred Brancati, chronic conditions, health care service, Patricia Brown, Johns Hopkins HealthCare

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Walgreens, Johns Hopkins partner on disease management

May 25th, 2011

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreen Co. and Johns Hopkins Medicine have entered an agreement to spur collaboration on population-based research and jointly review and develop protocols to improve the health outcomes of patients with chronic diseases.

Under the alliance, announced Wednesday, Walgreens and Johns Hopkins also plan to explore the development of new models for improving care for individuals, including the creation of new educational and training programs for the drug store chain's 70,000 health care service providers.

"By collaborating with Johns Hopkins Medicine, we will access some of the best expertise in health care to develop research, protocols and training programs designed to improve patient outcomes through our nationwide network of accessible community pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physicians and other clinicians," Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy, health and wellness at Walgreens, said in a statement.

The wide-ranging agreement sets up a variety of opportunities, according to Walgreens and Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins. For instance, in tandem with the current Walgreens research team, Johns Hopkins experts will develop new ideas for research in disease management, screening and prevention to be spun off into proposals for funding. And in the area of clinical protocol development and reeview. Johns Hopkins faculty — who are global leaders in developing health care protocols, medical guidelines and algorithms in chronic disease management — will work closely with Walgreens experts to review and improve care.

In addition, by leveraging Johns Hopkins' capabilities in on-site and distance education for doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, technicians, pharmacists and others, the medical institution aims to develop a comprehensive program to expand and enhance the ongoing professional education of professionals in the Walgreens network. Johns Hopkins and Walgreens, too, will explore the possibility of jointly developing lifestyle, chronic care and disease-specific clinical programs and health plan services.

"Improving the care of people with chronic conditions — like asthma, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease — is a central goal of health professionals, health systems and U.S. policy makers," stated Fred Brancati, M.D., professor of medicine and director of the Division of General Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "It makes sense medically, and under health care reform it makes sense financially, too. It's a part of the Hopkins mission that Walgreens can help us advance. Combining our clinical expertise and research know-how with their nationwide resources — including pharmacies, clinics, work-site health centers, information systems and 70,000 health care service providers — will generate new approaches to improve population health."

Johns Hopkins noted that for years it has provided its expertise to the health care industry and corporations seeking to improve the care and health outcomes of their patients or employees. For example, its Center for Innovation in Quality Patient Care has been creating new models of health care delivery designed to improve patient safety, quality and efficiency at Johns Hopkins as well as at hundreds of hospitals in the United States and worldwide.

"With its large patient and client base, sophisticated IT infrastructure and commitment to improving health care outcomes for its patients, Walgreens provides us with a unique opportunity to conduct large-scale population-based research," commented Patricia Brown, president of Johns Hopkins HealthCare. "It also affords us the chance to augment Walgreens' existing quality and education programs to enhance care and outcomes for a very large number of people."