This month, CVS Caremark Corp. expects to begin rolling out its Consumer Engagement Engine, which provides real-time clinical messaging to pharmacists.

CVS Caremark, Consumer Engagement Engine, Larry Merlo, Tom Ryan, clinical messaging, pharmacists, pharmacy, data integration, intelligence solution, pharmacy workflow, prescription filling, Geoff Walden, Pharmacy benefit management, PBM, Pharmacy Advisor program

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CVS Caremark to deploy consumer 'engine'

June 1st, 2010

NEW YORK – This month, CVS Caremark Corp. expects to begin rolling out its Consumer Engagement Engine, which provides real-time clinical messaging to pharmacists.

The deployment comes in the wake of a successful pilot of the technology, CVS Caremark president and chief operating officer Larry Merlo told financial analysts at the Citi Investment Research Food & Drug Retail Conference.

A data integration and intelligence solution, the Consumer Engagement Engine is designed to provide a comprehensive view of the customer. The clinical communications are integrated into normal pharmacy workflow, becoming part of the prescription filling process, Merlo explained. Messages cover adherence, potential gaps in care and possible lower-cost therapies.

The feedback from pharmacists in the pilot "has been terrific," Merlo said at the conference, held last week in New York. "We're very excited to get that out in the market."

The engine, which is already operating in Caremark call centers, pools data from all customer touch points — including retail and specialty pharmacies, mail order, MinuteClinics, CVS and Caremark web sites, telephone pharmacy service, and the ExtraCare loyalty program — to develop a full picture of a person's interaction with the company and his or her prescription purchase and usage behavior, as well as related personal and health care information.

CVS Caremark chairman and chief executive officer Tom Ryan said at the conference that the engine answers the challenge of showing results from a pharmacy initiative. Pharmacy benefit management clients want new clinical programs, but they want to see results, he said.

Tests of the related Pharmacy Advisor program have improved adherence 10% to 15%, Ryan noted. "It's simply because of the face-to-face interaction," he said.

Addressing skepticism over whether the engine can be applied in stores, Ryan said the consultations take a minute or less. "It's quick. It's across 7,000 stores. It's not taking someone in a consulting room and talking to him for 35 minutes."

The engine will allow pharmacists to focus on such disease states as diabetes, asthma and cardiovascular conditions by letting them have information "at their fingertips," he said. "The performance is just dramatic."

Merlo said the clinical messaging lets pharmacists "prioritize what is most important for that particular patient at that point in time."

According to Ryan, the engine presented "a huge opportunity" for retaining current PBM clients and attracting new ones. He also said it could eventually be extended to pharmacies outside CVS Caremark.