CVS rolled out a new brand along with the announcement that they are removing tobacco products from their shelves in all 7,600 stores and replacing those products with smoking cessation products. As a side note, Walgreens has also removed tobacco from their shelves but CVS Health rebranding takes this move to a new level.
“We’ve changed our company name to CVS Health to reflect our purpose of helping people on their path to better health,” officials at the company stated. “As a pharmacy innovation company at the forefront of a changing healthcare landscape, CVS Health is delivering breakthrough products and services and enabling people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable, effective ways through programs in medication adherence, specialty pharmacy and delivery of care by walk-in clinics,” the company said.
Of particular interest is CVS’ effort to enter the walk-in or minute clinic arena as a way to capture revenue from patients who need healthcare and want to take advantage of the convenience of purchasing pharmaceutical products in their stores. In their statement, CVS describes themselves as an innovative company which might imply that healthcare facilities aren’t innovative or innovative enough.
Is CVS Health filling a void that our current healthcare delivery system can’t manage? Or is this re-marketing an effort to capture revenue that has typically been received by healthcare facilities throughout the country?
Healthcare providers should be concerned about CVS Health’s sheer size and number of locations. Their rebranding was a brilliant move and is without doubt going to be beneficial to the overall health of communities. In total, this is probably a win — maybe win. CVS wins by capturing revenue that has been typically realized by healthcare providers. It is a maybe win for consumers that have experienced access issues in the past.
So as a healthcare provider, what can you do to respond?
First, CVS can out market the best of facilities. Undergoing a rebranding effort will not necessarily help compete with a company like CVS. The best way to combat this locally is to be sure that you provide a personal and complete experience for your patients.
It will also require providers and facilities to make sure schedules are open enough to avoid access issues. Patients want to continue their relationship with their primary care providers but will seek care elsewhere if it is more convenient.
Healthcare providers will want to provide a “freshness” to enhance how you market your facility. Adding new and improved Web content with clear information about the services your facility provides, well thought out provider biographical information and how this appears (not flat but multidimensional), and calls to action will be very important. Just as important will be online ads, social media, and other marketing tactics.
Finally, increased efforts to engage patients through the continuum of care — an integrated system that tracks your patients over time through an array of health services. Offering more educational opportunities, follow up, longer or varied hours, and medical homes can also help retain patients that might consider going down the street to the pharmacy.
Clearly, CVS Health will fill the vacuum that’s not being filled by healthcare providers across the country. In fact, CVS throws down a gauntlet by stating they will be an active participant in providing programs to manage chronic disease, programs to help with medication, and digital capabilities to enhance their services. The access to care void will be occupied by CVS, or Walgreens, or Osco Drug, or…WalMart? To be sure, CVS won’t be the last entrant into this market — they are just the first.
A patient wants to see their primary care provider but also wants to see and know their provider is delivering quality care, innovative approaches, education and access just as simply or easily as CVS Health.