CVS Health wants to create a “super app” connecting multiple omnichannel modalities of the healthcare experience, including benefits, delivery and retail channels, chief medical officer Sree Chaguturu said Tuesday at the HLTH conference in Las Vegas.
A super app is a widely adopted mobile or web application that combines multiple services in one platform. Super apps are ubiquitous in Asia, but haven’t taken off in the U.S. due to a fragmented app market, concerns about advertising revenue, the country’s payment system structure and a strict regulatory environment, according to the Harvard Business Review.
“As we think about the future of healthcare digital applications, we won’t have a super app the way that we have in other countries that crosses multiple sectors, but we do believe that there will be a role for super apps in particular verticals,” Chaguturu said during a panel. “We think we’re well-positioned to create that sort of super app for healthcare.”
Following the multi-billion-dollar acquisitions of value-based medical group Oak Street Health and home health provider Signify Health this year, CVS been focusing on ways to integrate the functionalities of its different businesses to cut costs as the company pursues a larger restructuring.
In pharmacy, for example, CVS created a new segment this year that integrates all of its pharmacy capabilities, including retail pharmacy, specialty and mail order pharmacy as well as infusion services.
Digital channels are no different. In a first quarter earnings call in May, CEO Karen Lynch said that CVS was “critically focused on digital engagement” and planned to continue expanding its digital offerings.
That quarter, CVS surpassed 50 million digital customers — a “significant milestone,” Lynch said, because digital customers spend 2.4 times more than non-digital customers, and at higher margins.
CVS says that its customers, and members of its health insurer Aetna, frequently engage with the Rhode Island-based company via digital applications and text messaging. According to Chaguturu, CVS sent 2 billion text messages in 2022 for a variety of reasons, including confirmation of healthcare appointments or medical information.
Along with its website CVS.com, CVS also offers telehealth services through MinuteClinic and is exploring the use of artificial intelligence to streamline member experience.
“We will continue to evolve our digital assets in the vein of creating that super app,” Chaguturu said.