June 21, 2024


Imagination at work

CVS Health partners with Microsoft to advance digital-first strategy

Photo courtesy of CVS Health

As part of efforts to accelerate a digital-centric strategy, CVS Health is teaming with Microsoft and will be tapping into its cloud computing and artificial intelligence technologies, the company announced this week.

CVS Health hopes the collaboration will speed along development of a more data-driven, personalized customer experience, while complying with patient privacy and confidentiality policies.

The idea is to combine information from different areas across the company, so CVS can enhance its omnichannel pharmacy capabilities and deliver customized health recommendations. The company said it 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 potentially creating a more personalized consumer experience, data science will also be used to improve access to care and health outcomes. CVS Health cited its ability to create a simple, easy-to-use patient experience as being critical to its role in the national COVID-19 vaccination effort, ensuring “equitable and efficient administration” of approximately 43 million vaccines.

The Microsoft partnership is also expected to benefit CVS retail employees. Through the use of Microsoft Teams and Office products, the organization expects it will be more agile, enabling retail employees to more easily digest key information needed to answer common questions and solve customer needs more quickly.


CVS Health currently leverages Azure cognitive services, like Computer Vision and Text Analytics for Health, that automate certain tasks. In Specialty Pharmacy, for example, CVS Health has digitized intake using these services, including the 40% of prescriptions that arrive as paper or fax — the idea being that it helps 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 the latter’s technology-driven digitalization program, the company said.

CVS Health selected Microsoft as a preferred cloud provider for applications based on what it called “a successful history of engineering and co-innovation.” As a strategic platform, Azure will play a role in CVS Health’s acceleration of its digital transformation by expanding the company’s multi-cloud presence to more than 1,500 new and existing business applications in Azure cloud.

Microsoft and CVS Health also intend to explore technology solutions meant to support consumers, employees and ecosystem partners. Microsoft HoloLens, Dynamics 365 Guides, and Remote Assist, according to the organizations, can simplify complex procedures with digital 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, the companies said.


Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations in every industry — healthcare 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, the study found.


“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 at 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.”

“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 healthcare experts and create customized care and services that enable people to live healthier lives.”

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