CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) and Microsoft Corp. (NYSE: MSFT) today announced a new strategic alliance focused on developing innovative solutions to help consumers improve their health, while empowering over 300,000 CVS Health employees – including frontline workers – with tools to better serve more than 100 million people.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations in every industry – health care in particular – have grappled with the need to adapt quickly. According to an Economist Intelligence Unit study commissioned by Microsoft, organizations 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 fundamental necessity for business resilience, accelerating growth, and driving efficiencies.
"We are rapidly transforming into a consumer-centric, integrated health solutions company, taking a digital-first, technology forward approach to all that we do," said Roshan Navagamuwa, Chief Information Officer, CVS Health. "Business services at this scale requires a new level of partnership. Our collaboration with Microsoft will accelerate this work and empower our employees to provide quality care that is more personal and affordable."
The collaboration with Microsoft will help CVS Health accelerate a data-driven, personalized customer experience, while complying with the company's patient privacy and confidentiality policies. By combining information from different areas across the company with high agility, CVS Health will enhance its omnichannel pharmacy capabilities and deliver customized health recommendations when and where consumers need them. CVS Health will also scale up retail loyalty and personalization programs that use advanced Machine Learning models running on the cloud computing service Azure.
In addition to creating a more personalized and seamless experience for consumers, data science will also be used to improve access to care and health outcomes. The ability to create a simple, easy-to-use patient experience has been critical to CVS Health's role in the national COVID-19 vaccination effort, delivering insights and recommendations to ensure equitable and efficient administration of approximately 43 million vaccines.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"We are excited to partner with CVS Health on its digital transformation journey, collaborating together on how the company manages health data at scale, improves the customer experience, and drives operational efficiency," said Judson Althoff, Microsoft's Chief Commercial Officer. "With the Azure platform and its AI capabilities, we will combine the power of data, the expansive reach of CVS Health's world-class solutions, and Microsoft Teams to connect health care experts and create customized care and services that enable people to live healthier lives."