CVS, Microsoft form digital health partnership to manage personalized ‘health data’

Drug store chain CVS Health is forming a digital partnership with Microsoft after initially collaborating with the tech behemoth in an effort to “reimagine personal care.”

The five-year partnership, which was laid out at the 2021 Forbes Healthcare Summit by Karen Lynch, the CEO of CVS Health, as well as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, seeks to incorporate “the massive data CVS has from its tens of millions of customers and health plan enrollees,” Forbes reported, adding that the financial terms of the deal were not provided.

Both companies say they would like the alliance to bring about additional “customized health recommendations” via their collaboration “when and where” customers may need them. That includes adding mobile health alerts for cancer screenings, reminders for those at risk of developing skin cancer to buy sunscreen, and other health-related matters.

“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, CIO, CVS Health, according to Chain Store Age. “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.”

“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,” added Judson Althoff, Microsoft’s chief commercial officer. “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.”

“It’s really about that mobility about having your health information available at your fingertips and allowing us as a company to be a part of your digital health,” noted Lynch said during an interview with Forbes editor-in-chief Steve Forbes.

Nadella added that the partnership is “not about the technology we bring” from Microsoft to CVS, but instead, it’s about the “technology (Microsoft) brings to help CVS build their own technology.”

Another aspect of the partnership that could improve outcomes for patients includes ensuring better adherence to medications after research has shown that many people are prone to forgetting to take their meds or do not take them as directed by healthcare providers.

“Adherence can lead to better outcomes,” Nadella noted.

Some key objectives of the partnership, which were announced Thursday, include:

— Customizing care in a way that quickens CVS Health’s “data-driven, personalized customer experience” while also complying with patient confidentiality requirements;

— Enable frontline CVS employees through the use of Microsoft Teams to “make store operations more agile and connected, improving the customer experience”;

— Digitize operations to make them more efficient, including filling prescriptions;

— Use of cloud computing in order to hasten CVS Health’s “digital transformation by migrating business applications currently running on on-site servers to Azure, advancing operational efficiencies and increasing speed and agility across the company.”

Jon Dougherty


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