7 ways CVS is leveraging Microsoft’s tech to drive digital

By Kate Birch
As Microsoft and CVS partner on fast-tracking digital strategy, we highlight 7 ways the pharma retailer is leveraging technology to deliver health outcomes

CVS Health and Microsoft have formed a new partnership designed to fast-track the pharmacy retailer’s consumer-centric, digital-first strategy.

This follows on from an ongoing collaboration the two companies have had, with Microsoft helping CVS in its digital journey throughout the pandemic.

Pandemic pushes accelerator on healthcare digital transformation

Since the onset of the pandemic, organisations across every sector, but healthcare in particular, have grappled with the need to adapt quickly.

According to an Economist Intelligence Unit study commissioned by Microsoft, organisations have accelerated transformation initiatives and have begun to rely more heavily on digital tools.

From creating hybrid environments to help employees work from home virtually, to deploying new applications to better support frontline workers, digital transformation has become a necessity for business resilience, accelerating growth, and driving efficiencies.

CVS has already been leveraging Azure cognitive services to automate tasks, for example, and data science to create a simple patient experience that’s been critical in the company’s contribution to the US coronavirus vaccination efforts.

Ramping up the digital transformation journey

Now, CVS wants to ramp up its digital transformation journey to improve its customer experience, manage health data at scale and drive operational efficiency.

“We are rapidly transforming into a consumer-centric, integrated health solutions company, taking a digital-first, technology-forward approach to all that we do,” says Roshan Navagamuwa, CVS’ chief information officer. “Our collaboration with Microsoft will accelerate this work and empower our employees to provide quality care that is more personal and affordable.”

Using the Azure platform and its AI capabilities, Microsoft will combine the power of data, the expansive reach of CVS’ world-class solutions and Microsoft Teams to connect healthcare experts and create customised care and services that enable people to live healthier lives. 

How CVS is tapping Microsoft to fast-track digital strategy

Microsoft’s new partnership with CVS is a continuation and acceleration of the pharmacy retailer’s digital transformation. So, how are Microsoft’s technologies and capabilities helping CVS to achieve its customer-centric, data-driven outcomes, digitalise its operations?

1. Providing personalised care

CVS wants to accelerate a data-driven, personalised customer experience, while also complying with the company’s patient privacy and confidentiality policies. Microsoft technology will work with them in combining information from different areas across the company with high agility, thus enhancing the company’s omnichannel pharmacy capabilities and delivering customised health recommendations when and where consumers need them.

2. Scaling retail loyalty and customisation programs

Advanced machine learning models run on the cloud computing service Azure will help CVS scale up retail loyalty and personalisation programs.

3. Improving customer access to care and health outcomes

Data science will be used to improve customer access to care and health outcomes. The ability to create a simple, easy-to-use patient experience has been critical to CVS’ role in the national COVID vaccination effort, delivering insights and recommendations to ensure fair and efficient administration of some 43 million vaccines.

4. Enabling frontline workers

Throughout the pandemic, CVS Health retail employees have continued to support their communities by staying focused on their day-to-day responsibilities. Through the use of Microsoft Teams and Office products, CVS Health will be more agile, enabling retail employees to more easily consume key information needed to answer common questions and solve customer needs faster.

5. Digitalising operations

CVS Health currently leverages Azure cognitive services like Computer Vision and Text Analytics for Health that automate tasks. In Specialty Pharmacy, for example, CVS Health has digitized intake using these services – including the 40 percent of prescriptions that arrive as paper or fax – helping technicians fill prescriptions, faster and easier than previous methods. Microsoft will continue to expand and partner with CVS Health to reimagine and simplify processes, as part of CVS Health’s technology-driven digitalization program.

6. Expanding cloud services

CVS Health selected Microsoft as a preferred cloud provider for applications based on a successful history of engineering and co-innovation. As a strategic platform, Azure will play a key role in CVS Health’s acceleration of its digital transformation by expanding the company’s already formidable multi-cloud presence to over 1,500 new and existing business applications in Azure cloud.

7. Innovative solutions

Microsoft and CVS Health will also explore innovative technology solutions that will support consumers, employees, and ecosystem partners. Microsoft HoloLens, Dynamics 365 Guides, and Remote Assist can simplify complex procedures with intuitive tools to help support CVS Health employees. Microsoft Azure AI and cognitive capabilities can also extend to automate administrative and predictive processes and reduce waste through co-innovation with CVS Health’s deep community presence and health care expertise.


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