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higi secures $40 million in funding to expand, innovate

BY David Salazar

CHICAGO — Retail and omnichannnel health engagement platform higi announced Monday that it had secured more than $40 million in funding from its investors. The company said it would use the funding for innovation among its network of health stations, its mobile app and its web portal, which will include expanding programs for retail partners supporting wellness and coordinated care efforts, as well as medication therapy management initiatives. 
 
“higi was founded on a simple but elusive idea: when individuals are empowered with their vital health stats (i.e., blood pressure, BMI, weight, pulse and body composition*) and motivated through challenges and incentives, they make better decisions that lead to improved health outcomes,” said Jeff Bennett, CEO of higi. “We are very fortunate to have investors and a board of directors who share higi’s belief that small but meaningful steps can create lasting health habits.”
 
In 2015, higi users averaged about a million tests per week, with its user base growing to more than 30 million people who collectively tracked more than 100 million miles’ worth of activity. Its free app, which the company credits with building its base, connects with more than 50 health and fitness apps, and the company has partnerships with more than 40 retail banners nationwide, giving it the largest U.S. retail footprint of any health platform. 
 
“higi is a unique company because it understands and delivers on the promise that consumers who are empowered with their real-time biometric data often make better health decisions,” higi chairman Willliam Wrigley said. “I am excited to be working closely with higi and strongly believe it is a company to watch in 2016 and beyond.”
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Walgreens leases 56 Chicago-area clinics to Advocate Health Care

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens and Advocate Health Care on Monday announced Advocate will operate the 56 Healthcare Clinics at Walgreens stores across the greater Chicagoland area. The retail clinics will function as part of Advocate and will be branded as Advocate Clinic at Walgreens, with the first clinic opening under the Advocate banner in May 2016.  
 
“Advocate Clinic at Walgreens expands Advocate's care delivery locations to provide more options for patients and meet the needs of consumers in an evolving health care environment,” stated Lee Sacks, Advocate’s chief medical officer and EVP. “With Walgreens’ unmatched footprint coupled with our leading clinical expertise and commitment to delivering high quality, affordable health care, more patients will have access to the best care when and where they need it.” 
 
For Walgreens, the agreement aligns with a two-pronged growth strategy for its retail clinics, which includes investing in its core business and expanding services to build a strong and viable model for future growth, while also developing deeper, more innovative approaches with health systems.
 
In August 2015, Walgreens and Providence Health & Services announced a strategic clinical collaboration aimed at coordinating patient care and improving patient access, which plans to bring up to 25 new retail clinics to Oregon and Washington. The clinics will be owned and operated by Providence and its affiliates, and were the first to open at Walgreens stores under a new collaborative services model. '
 
“Advocate shares our commitment to delivering extraordinary, personalized patient care, and is a nationally recognized health system that, like Walgreens, has been serving Chicagoland communities for more than 100 years,” said Pat Carroll, chief medical officer for Walgreens Healthcare Clinics. “We believe this approach will help ensure a true continuum of care for patients and their providers," he said. "This is also an emphasis for our Walgreens-managed clinics, where we continue to make investments, such as a new EHR platform, to offer patient benefits through a variety of convenient care options.”
 
Walgreens currently operates on-site pharmacy locations at three Advocate hospitals, with plans to expand to three more Advocate hospitals in the near future.   
 
Advocate Clinic at Walgreens will be staffed with board-certified nurse practitioners employed by, trained by and supervised by Advocate Medical Group. Advocate’s intention is to attempt to hire its initial workforce from among the employees currently working at Walgreens’ clinic locations.
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Wearables, IoT excites Target execs at CES

BY DSN STAFF

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