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11/30/2021

CVS Pharmacy Releases ‘Talking’ Prescriptions Chainwide

Spoken Rx is an in-app prescription reader created for patients with visual impairments
Marian Zboraj
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CVS Pharmacy Releases ‘Talking’ Prescriptions Chainwide
CVS Pharmacy is now offering Spoken Rx, its proprietary audio prescription label solution, in all its nearly 10,000 locations nationwide, including more than 1,700 CVS Pharmacy locations within Target.

Talking pill bottles? No, it’s not your mind playing tricks on you but rather a real digital health advancement that CVS Pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Health, is releasing chainwide for customers with visual impairments.

Originally launched in 1,700 stores in 2020, Spoken Rx is CVS’ proprietary audio prescription label solution developed in collaboration with the American Council of the Blind that reads patients' prescription information aloud. Designed for those with visual impairments and those who cannot read standard print labels, the technology is now available in all of the retailer's nearly 10,000 pharmacy locations nationwide, including more than 1,700 CVS Pharmacy locations within Target. 

The Spoken Rx feature, available in the CVS Pharmacy App and accessible using Voiceover for iOS, or self-voicing with Siri or Google Assistant on a smartphone, can read a specific type of label that is affixed to the bottom of each prescription container for patients who have enrolled in the program. When these RFID (radio-frequency identification) labels are scanned using the Spoken Rx tab in the CVS App, important prescription information, including patient name, medication name and directions, will be read aloud in either English or Spanish. Identiv, Inc., a provider in digital identification and security, powers this program.

"We continue to remove barriers to health care for all patients, and this in-app technology furthers our commitment by providing patients added flexibility and independence," said Jared Tancrelle, SVP, store operations at CVS Health. "Our patients are increasingly digitally connected, so digital tools like Spoken Rx are a priority for us as we listen to feedback and adapt our suite of pharmacy services and programs to ensure we're best meeting the needs of all consumers."

With the CVS App and a registered CVS account, patients can enroll in Spoken Rx for free over the phone by calling their local pharmacy, or in-store, where a pharmacist can ensure the patient's app is appropriately set up for the service. For patients without a smartphone, CVS offers a stand-alone speaker device that can read the Spoken Rx labels.

"This is a positive step that offers same-day access for prescriptions filled in CVS stores. Spoken Rx allows for a greater level of privacy, safety and independence for blind and visually impaired customers," said Eric Bridges, executive director for the Alexandria, Va.-basedAmerican Council of the Blind.

Spoken Rx adds to the existing braille, audio and large-print accessible prescription label options already available through cvs.com.

The chainwide launch of Spoken Rx comes after CVS announced it was shaking up its business model. According to the company, it is closing at least 900 stores over the next three years as it adjusts to "changes in population, consumer buying patterns and future health needs.” For third quarter 2021, the company reported strong numbers, with revenues up 10% year over year, totaling $73.8 billion. Total revenues year to date increased to $215.5 billion, an increase of 8.2% compared with the prior-year period.

With its CVS Pharmacy subsidiary operating almost 10,000 locations nationwide, Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Health is No. 7 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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