CVS Health to ramp up its tech efforts with Digital Innovation Lab launch in Boston

By Aditi Pai
Share

CVSPharmacyCVS Health announced plans to launch a Digital Innovation Lab in Boston. The company's Boston location will serve as the offices for the CVS Health Digital team.

The new space will accommodate approximately 100 employees, according to CVS, and 90 percent of the employees for the lab will be new hires.

"We are looking to hire top talent across all of digital, and there will be a heavy emphasis on jobs around user experience and digital product experience," Brian Tilzer, SVP and Chief Digital Officer for CVS Health told MobiHealthNews in an email. "That includes everything from application development and creative digital design, to engineering, coding, usability and customer experience."

Part of the lab will be dedicated as an open workspace "that encourages idea-sharing and innovation to produce the next level of digital technology".

"We’re approaching digital innovation with an eye toward creating tools that help our customers and patients live healthier lives, stay adherent to their medications and manage their prescriptions easily," Tilzer said. "We see our retail experiences as one piece of that puzzle, so we are just as focused on customer experience innovations as we are with leveraging technology to deliver new service options that help people achieve their health goals." 

CVS has been actively building out its digital offerings for at least the past four years.

CVS first launched its first mobile app in 2010, for iPhones only, over half a year after they launched a new mobile website. CVS members could use the iPhone app to fill a prescription, check a prescription order status, view the prescription history, check the cost of the medication, and locate a nearby pharmacy. At the end of 2011, CVS added Android support.

In 2013, CVS launched several digital health projects. Early last year, CVS announced that it would be working with NantWorks-owned Vitality, which sells GlowCaps, cellular-connected caps designed to help people remember to take their pills. The companies announced that they would work together in a randomized control trial using GlowCaps to test the effectiveness of sweepstakes to improve medication adherence.

Shortly afterwards, Tilzer announced a new CVS iPad app, a virtual pharmacy. The CVS iPad app presents the user with a 3D virtual pharmacy, where each section of the store corresponds to a functionality for the app, many of which were already present on CVS’s iPhone app. In the Pharmacy section of the app, users can scan barcodes to refill prescriptions and manage their family’s prescriptions. In the MinuteClinic part of the app, users can search for nearby clinics, check whether their insurance is accepted, and see a list of services offered.

Then, in July, CVS added a drug interaction checker to its CVS Mobile app that cautions consumers when an over-the-counter medication might interact with other drugs they are taking. The company claimed to be the first drugstore chain to include such a feature in a mobile app.

Tilzer explained that he plans to develop similar products in the new CVS Digital Innovation Lab.

"These are just a few examples of the kinds of projects that we expect to come out of the lab, as well as some much bigger and more out-of-the-box ideas we look forward to sharing next year and in the future, that make it easier for customers to manage their health and even stay adherent to their medication regimens," Tilzer said.