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10/11/2022

Rite Aid, Google Cloud Team to Modernize Pharmacy Ops

Move aims to make drug stores more personalized, data-driven and resilient
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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As well as modernizing the technologies powering Rite Aid's pharmacies, Google Cloud will enable digital transformations across various areas of the drug store chain's business.

Rite Aid and Google Cloud have formed a new multiyear technology partnership that will provide the drug store chain with better insights, enhanced agility and improved customer experiences. Meanwhile, updated applications for personalized digital experiences will enable pharmacists to spend more time interacting directly with customers.

Under the partnership, Rite Aid will migrate key applications to Google Cloud’s Anthos, a managed platform for application deployment. These applications include Rite Aid’s vaccine scheduling tool, customer messaging infrastructure and digital engagement platform. Using Anthos, Rite Aid’s 2,350-plus pharmacies will have access to on-site cloud computing capabilities, providing resilient operations. Strategic business continuity will enable the company to continue to offer elevated care during natural disasters through robust patient information, advanced prescription management and the ability to offer recommendations without having to be connected to centralized legacy mainframe technology.

“The power of pharmacies, and the important role pharmacists play in the health of their communities, greatly expanded during COVID,” said Justin Mennen, Rite Aid’s EVP and chief digital and technology officer. “Realizing that potential means making strategic investments in technology that can truly help our customers and maximize the capabilities of our pharmacists. Google Cloud’s solutions are uniquely positioned to run at each pharmacy location to allow our store teams to help our customers to achieve whole health for life.”

As well as modernizing the technologies powering Rite Aid’s pharmacies, Google Cloud will enable digital transformations across other areas of the drug store chain’s business, among then:

  • Complete enterprise data migration: Rite Aid will migrate its enterprise data to Google Cloud using BigQuery. This will allow the pharmacy to have better insights into its finances, supply chain inventory and customer information, powering data-driven decisions for its business operations.
  • Improved search capabilities: Rite Aid has chosen Google Cloud’s Retail Search solution to give customers more precise search results when shopping on the retailer’s e-commerce site and mobile app. Retail Search offers an enhanced search experience that uses Google-quality search models to understand customer intent and takes into account Rite Aid’s first-party data, including promotions, available inventory and price, for product- ranking results.
  • Updated pharmacy benefits management application suite: Elixir, Rite Aid’s pharmacy benefits and services company, will update its current pharmacy benefits management application suite to a cloud-first experience with artificial intelligence- and machine learning-infused business logic capabilities. New Google Cloud data analytics and processing capabilities will enable the pharmacy benefits manager to better manage prescription benefits for health insurers.

“As a health care company with a retail footprint, Rite Aid is at the intersection of two quickly evolving industries and making strategic technology investments to meet rising customer expectations,” said Carrie Tharp, VP of retail and consumer solutions at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Google Cloud. “Through these innovations, Rite Aid is defining the modern pharmacy.”

For its second fiscal quarter, Rite Aid reported a net loss of $331.3 million, and its revenues for the quarter were $5.90 billion compared with revenues of $6.11 billion in the prior-year quarter, a decline that the company attributed mainly to the expected decline in demand for COVID vaccines and PCR tests.

Employing more than 6,400 pharmacists and operating 2,350-plus retail pharmacy locations across 17 states, Philadelphia-based Rite Aid is No. 21 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Its wholly owned subsidiaries are Elixir, a pharmacy benefits and services company; Seattle-area regional chain Bartell Drugs; and Health Dialog, which provides health care coaching and disease management services live online and via phone.

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