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CVS Digital Innovations

CVS Health Digital Innovation Lab: A collection of work for CVS Health and their digital products.

At the CVS Digital Innovation lab I got to work on exciting new spaces in the realm of chat and voice technology as well as refining digital experiences within the existing mobile web, desktop and app platforms. CVS Health has a wide range of departments and services, but it is widely categorized into two main business units. There is the front-store retail department and there is the pharmacy department. Within the pharmacy department there's the presecription filling pharmacists and counter workers and in many stores there is the Minute Clinic, a retail medical clinic with doctors that serve walk-in patients needing care.

Sounds like a lot right? Well, then there is also CVS Caremark, which provides employers and insurance companies with comprehensive prescription benefit plans. This shortlist doesn’t even cover half of the subsidiaries and assets under CVS Health, but it does paint the picture that the company has a lot of moving parts within it that make innovation a complicated task.

Online chat for the CVS Pharmacy

The various CVS Pharmacy stores across the United States receive a lot of calls from customers looking for answers to their questions. The questions, as it turned out, are usually simple questions about inventory, pickup times or something else seemingly trivial. The problem is that these calls take up precious time from pharmacists who should be focusing on filling perscriptions and tending to customers in the store rather than answering simple caller questions.

mobile app illustration Designed by Freepik

The challenge was to create a chat experience for pharmacy customers to help lower call volume for the pharmacists. On top of this, we wanted to learn more about how best to communicate with and serve users through our CVS Health Pharmacy mobile app channel.

Complicating the typical chat experience is the fact that most information shared in pharmacy conversations is considered Protected Health Information. Protected Health Information comes with many requirements including 1) Safe storage of data 2) Authentication of users and 3) Only providing prescription advice through a certified representative.

Defining the Path of Least Resistance

I worked with a team of subject matter experts in the CVS team such as pharmacists, customer support managers and employees, as well as our legal and branding teams. We collaborated to define how customers would be interacting with this new product and how to scale the operation if this pilot were to be a success. What we soon realized when breaking down the possible flows was that creating a smooth path for users to begin chatting with a pharmacist was going to be the biggest challenge. With all of the red tape surrounding healthcare and medical record privacy, the path of least resistance was still going to be complicated.

flow chart for Pharmacy Chat experience

Drawing the Solution

Alongside the design work I collaborated with our research team to conduct remote usability studies on UserTesting.com. Gaining the user feedback was crucial in helping to define the simple path for users to discover the feature and begin using it right away. I designed the user interface and interactions to support easy access and feature discoverability. I also learned to focus on quick response rates from support representatives and setting clear expectations around the unfortunately inevitable queue.

flow chart for Pharmacy Chat experience

Developer Collaboration and Documentation

As part of the CVS development process UX Designers were asked to provide the developers with clearly documented instructions, more than half of the development was done overseas in India. I designed the screens, wrote the interaction descriptions and delivered all of the assets from the designs.

flow chart for Pharmacy Chat experience


Highlights

  • Designing experiences with a company that has one of the largest B2C impacts in the USA
  • Learning the ins and outs of complicated industries including healthcare and insurance
  • Collaborating across multiple internal organizations and domain experts to solve complex problems
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