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Here's How CVS is Using Technology to Grow their Healthcare Service to Epic Proportions



CVS Health has been providing their drugstore and healthcare services to America’s patients for over 50 years, and has always strived to stay at the very front line of technology while doing so.

Offering customers a simple and convenient method of filling and refilling their prescriptions in their pharmacies using the CVS mobile app is just one example. Instead of having to keep hold of paper prescriptions, which inevitably become ruined or lost over time, CVS customers can save all their prescriptions on their smartphone. They can then use a system dubbed ScriptSync to synchronize their refills so they are all picked up on the same day. This saves seriously unwell people from having to make several trips to the store, or having to wait in line for long periods of time – as well as improving adherence to medication regimes.

Discussing ScriptSync with The Wall Street Journal, CVS Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Stephen Gold said, “The data shows that our prescription benefit management members who are using ScriptSync have improved their adherence anywhere from 6% to 10%. And statistics show that if the national adherence rate was increased by just 1 percentage point, it would generate $6 billion of health-care savings a year.”

(Image source: cookiesandclogs.com)

A barcode scanner makes adding new medications to the app very simple, with customers also able to text a refill request if they find it easier. The app also offers a loyalty scheme, as well as coupons and discount codes for many other products available in-store, and allows customers to settle their bill using the built in CVS Pay feature.

CVS is also innovating with new ways for customers to access their products outside of their retail locations. CVS vending machines are due to be installed at locations such as hotels, airports, malls, and college campuses, allowing passing trade to purchase off-the-shelf health products, snacks, and personal care items.

"We are always looking for new ways to combine convenience and innovation to help better serve our customers," said Judy Sansone, Senior Vice President of Front Store Business & Chief Merchant at CVS Pharmacy. "Our new CVS Pharmacy vending machine program allows us to extend that convenience beyond our brick-and-mortar locations to offer customers on-the-go essentials in the locations where they often need them most, like airports, hotels and other transportation hubs."

Epic Developments

Never content to sit still, CVS is now looking to overhaul their entire medical records system with software developed by industry leaders, Epic.

Epic software is already the most widely used electronic health record (EHR) in the US, with more than 50% of American patients having their medical details stored in an Epic-developed system – that’s over 190 million people – and is being adopted by more healthcare providers all the time.

CVS’s move to implement Epic systems in their healthcare providing branches will enable seamless communication and data exchange with any other provider presently using the software.

With more and more patients relying on getting specialist medical care for a wide range of rare and/or serious conditions, the need for medical and pharmaceutical providers to cooperate and communicate has never been higher. "By transitioning to the Epic EHR, we can further coordinate care across health care disciplines and settings, which promotes more effective and informed health care decision making," said Trip Hofer, President of Accordant, a CVS Caremark Company.

Epic integration will also enable CVS to improve the in-store experiences for their customers.

CVS Health operates a number of drop-in clinics – known as MinuteClinics – offering a place for people to go for health advice and assistance for minor illnesses and injuries, screening and monitoring, vaccinations and injections, and physicals. MinuteClinics are available at over 1,100 locations and are staffed by qualified and experienced healthcare professionals.

The introduction and integration of Epic software will enable MinuteClinics to conveniently access and update customers’ health records. This will not only cut down on the amount of time a patient will have to wait to be seen – as the necessity for out forms by hand is drastically reduced – but will also enable them to enjoy a more consistent healthcare experience, whichever location they visit.

An Epic Journey into the Future

It’s clear CVS Health is never satisfied to simply maintain the status quo and is instead constantly looking for new ways to ensure that each time a customer visits a CVS location – whether it is a pharmacy, MinuteClinic, or another arm of the CVS Health brand – they are getting the best possible service. From innovative mobile advances such as ScriptSync, to the complete overhaul of how valuable medical information is stored, CVS Health is always looking for the next Epic opportunity.

The last word goes to Alan Lotvin, M.D. Executive Vice President of CVS Specialty.

"As the specialty pharmacy of choice for many payors and patients, we are focused on creating the most clinically advanced specialty pharmacy experience to help improve care and outcomes for our patients. We are pleased to transition our care management programs onto the Epic platform, which will enable immediate information sharing with other health care providers across the patient's entire care team. This connectivity is integral in providing the best possible, coordinated health."