Retail health: Amwell tech looks to unify CVS Health’s digital front door
Retail health’s footprint continues to expand on multiple fronts. The latest news comes from digital care delivery company Amwell, which is partnering with CVS Health on an emerging technology platform for hybrid care. The move accelerates CVS’ push into primary care by enabling consumers to choose when and where they want to be seen — whether that’s in a retail or community-based setting, through at-home health services, or via virtual consultation.
The announcement follows Rite Aid’s late May reveal of a strategic partnership with Homeward to connect underserved seniors with care providers and clinical services and, separately, Amazon’s July acquisition of One Medical, a primary care organization offering a combination of in-person, digital and virtual care services.
Amwell reported during its Q2 2022 financial reporting call that the company has devoted “key workflow” to development of its Converge technology platform in support of CVS’s new consumer-centric offering. Converge brings together Amwell’s products, as well as third-party applications, in one place. Amwell aims to blend “…the many elements of the CVS Health ecosystem services into a single, integrated experience with a unified digital front door, according to Co-CEO Dr. Ido Schoenberg.
That ecosystem includes network providers covered by health insurer Aetna, which CVS acquired in 2018. The new CVS Health Virtual Primary Care model, already being sold to Aetna self-insured plan sponsors, will be available to eligible Aetna members starting Jan. 1, 2023. Additionally, eligible members of CVS Caremark, the parent company’s pharmacy benefit manager and mail-order pharmacy, will have access to Virtual Primary Care during the second quarter of 2023.
“With CVS well underway and a substantial part of our platform in live deployment, our R&D efforts are focused on bringing Converge over the finish line,” Schoenberg said. “We continue to prioritize existing customer migrations and expect healthy growth in Converge visits in the second half of the year.”
Schoenberg added that active providers on the Converge platform reached an all-time high during 2022’s second quarter, 45 percent higher than a year ago. Amwell’s go-to-market plan allows clients to select the modules they need now while offering add-on capabilities when they’re ready.
Meanwhile, consumers appear ready to place growing trust in retail health: 35 percent of adults surveyed by Morning Consult said that they received care at a retail health clinic during the COVID pandemic, while 55 percent said they plan to do so in the future.
Frank Irving is a Philadelphia-based content writer and communications consultant specializing in healthcare, technology and sports.