CVS Health will digitize its operations with Microsoft services and work with the tech giant to develop healthcare products to help its 30,000 employees deliver services to consumers more efficiently.
The partnership, which combines the cloud computing power of Microsoft Azure with CVS consumer services and the insurer Aetna, was announced on Thursday and comes as more healthcare companies focus more on digitalization. Insurers expect their tech budgets to grow 13.7% in 2022, with most payers looking to invest in artificial intelligence, clouds, privacy, data processing and analytics. Deloitte Financial Services Insurance Report 2022.
CVS was unable to answer questions about the financial terms of the five-year deal, whether any employees would be fired, or how this fits into the retail giant’s evolving business strategy. The new alliance came just two weeks after the company announced it would close 900 stores over the next three years to rethink what healthcare retail might look like.
“We are rapidly transforming ourselves into a consumer-focused company offering end-to-end healthcare solutions and adopting an advanced digital approach in everything we do,” said Roshan Nawagamuwa, CIO at CVS in a press release. “Business services of this magnitude require a new level of partnership. Our partnership with Microsoft will accelerate this work and empower our people to deliver better service that is more personalized and affordable. ”
This venture will give CVS access to over 1,500 line-of-business applications available in the Microsoft Azure cloud. The company plans to integrate the Microsoft Teams workflow with its retail reps to help CVS staff answer common customer questions.
Microsoft Teams previously announced that it will work with Teladoc Health to integrate virtual nursing into its social messaging platform.
CVS is also committed to focusing on digitizing and automating its pharmacies in order to ultimately provide consumers with personalized and user-friendly health advice. CVS has already created a platform using Microsoft technologies that integrates patient information from CVS and uses machine learning to predict individual needs, such as sending personalized reminders for annual flu vaccinations or cancer screenings, advising on drug side effects for individuals, or even skin reminders customers buy sunscreen. CVS’s ultimate goal is to leverage Azure Machine Learning systems to personalize and increase customer loyalty to its 10,000 retail stores.
The company has already digitized the consumption of 40% of applications for specialized pharmacies.
Going forward, CVS plans to continue rolling out Microsoft Azure cloud computing and text analytics for healthcare across the company.
The company will also explore how Microsoft HoloLens with augmented reality smart glasses, Dynamics 365 Guides operational instructions and remote assistance tools can make 30,000 employees more efficient. CVS and Microsoft will work together to develop Microsoft Azure AI technologies and cognitive capabilities.
“We’re excited to partner with CVS Health in our digital transformation, working together to help the company manage health data at scale, improve customer experience and improve operational efficiency,” said Judson Althoff, Chief Commercial Officer at Microsoft. “With the Azure platform and its AI capabilities, we will combine the power of data, the broad reach of world-class CVS Health and Microsoft Teams solutions to bring healthcare experts together to create personalized services and services that enable people to lead healthier lives. ”
The announcement comes just weeks after Microsoft announced that it has updated its healthcare cloud offering to join existing services from tech giant Azure, Teams, and other services to help providers with telemedicine, healthcare management, and patient interactions.
The company has integrated its Cloud for Healthcare service with several electronic health record systems such as Cerner.
Truveta also recently partnered with Cloud for Healthcare to integrate anonymized patient data from a group of 17 hospitals into Microsoft’s suite of cloud services and products. The integration will help Truveta attract new research and pharmaceutical customers who can use Azure aggregated data and AI tools to develop new products.