CVS strikes partnership with Microsoft as it rolls out new digital strategy



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As CVS Health revamps its health strategy, it’s striking a partnership with Microsoft to digitize more of its operations. CVS will migrate some of its existing processes to Microsoft’s cloud service, Azure, and will also work with the company to build more consumer-facing health tools as it looks to build out its digital presence.

The companies announced the strategic alliance on Thursday, though they did not disclose the terms of the deal. It comes shortly after CVS announced it would close 900 of its stores, and renovate other locations to focus more on health and wellness services.

“We are rapidly transforming into a consumer-centric, integrated health solutions company, taking a digital-first, technology forward approach to all that we do,” CVS Chief Information Officer Roshan Navagamuwa said in a news release.

One aspect of the partnership will be to build out consumer-facing tools that can provide customized health recommendations using patient data. For example, the company might remind someone at risk for melanoma to buy sunscreen, according to Forbes. 

The company also plans to build out its retail loyalty and personalization programs using Azure.

CVS has already used Azure to automate some tasks in the past. For example, it uses computer vision and text analytics to help digitize intake for specialty pharmacy, when prescriptions often arrive by paper or fax machine, making it easier and faster to fill prescriptions. CVS said it will work with Microsoft to find more ways like this to simplify processes.

Finally, the partnership will also involve CVS rolling out Microsoft products for its workforce, such as Teams for videoconferencing and Microsoft Office.

Microsoft has been taking recent strides to carve out its role in healthcare, as cloud competitors Google and Amazon also look for a slice of the market. Microsoft struck a strategic partnership last year with competitor Walgreens, and also struck an integration with Teladoc for Microsoft Teams. It also made a big, $19.7 billion acquisition of Nuance, which makes speech recognition tools for documentation.

Photo credit: CVS Health



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