Does CVS have a crystal ball into the future?

SUMMARY: CVS announced its plans to begin closing its doors–about 900 locations across the country. They know the future isn’t about selling 20 kinds of shampoos and vitamins. In the words of the company’s mission, its goal is to “make high-quality health and pharmacy services safe, affordable and easy to access.”

Growth doesn’t mean getting more extensive; it means getting better. That does not mean getting better at everything, as many are compelled to do. But it is getting better at what matters most: your core offering. Because it’s also the core reason, customers choose your business over the alternatives. And in the case of the pharmaceutical retailer, that’s healthcare.

Your local CVS will be turned into “destinations that offer a range of healthcare services, from flu shots to diagnostic tests,” according to the company’s news release. This is exactly what patients want. They don’t want to weeks for lab tests and other diagnostic tests. Healthcare is ripe for disruption, and CVS could be blazing new trails.

Competitors are lining up.

You can find anything on Amazon, but soon you will be able to “see” a nurse, a doctor, or get a diagnosis using telehealth within minutes, from the comfort of your home. Amazon wants to be the future of health care in the United States. They have promised to deliver virtual care in all 50 states and have set their sights on all aspects of health care. They have the money, tech know-how, and ability to succeed.

Amazon Care Director Dr. Kristen Lloyd Helton confirmed plans to bring Amazon Care to Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, and Los Angeles with the hopes of being in 20 major cities by sometime in 2022. Amazon is already partnering nationally with PillPack, an online pharmacy that Amazon acquired in 2018, and Health Navigator, a start-up they developed to provide services to digital health companies, to name a few acquisitions. Alexa became HIPPA compliant, so it can easily transmit and receive protected health information.

With Amazon’s 310 million active users (including 100 million Amazon Prime members) and 5 million sellers, they have access to a built-in customer base, hoping for better access to a positive health care experience. TheU.S.S health care market, now valued at $3 trillion (the most expensive in the world), needs a new approach.

Not to be left out, Wal*Mart is also testing various healthcare models for “the masses.” The challenge is getting people to use Wal*Mart’s health one-stop-shop.

The real issue is how patients will respond to “on-demand” healthcare? Will patients feel like just another “customer,” and will they get the time they want with healthcare providers?

One thing is for sure. Healthcare in theU.S.S is going through a tremendous transformation, and it’s going to take several failures to get it right.