CVS Health and Microsoft last week announced what they are calling "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."
Ther announcement goes on: "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."
And: "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."
“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, in a prepared statement. “Business services at this scale requires a new level of partnership."
- KC's View:
There is this sense that folks are choosing up sides, creating alliances that will build on individual companies' strengths in a way that serves consumer needs and capitalizes on trends. Now, this doesn't always play out the way everybody expects - like Haven, the now-disbanded healthcare joint venture formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase.
But, I suspect that even the failures will create greater knowledge that will serve these companies for the long term.
That said, it will interesting to see the degree to which this plays out at retail. My local CVS is mediocre at best - to the extent that Mrs. Content Guy has moved all of her business to the local independent pharmacy. I've stayed with CVS for now because I travel so much - or used to before the pandemic, and expect to again in 2022 - and think it is smart to be doing business with a national chain. But that makes CVS a default choice, not a preferred choice. Which is not where a retailer wants to be.