CVS is releasing a "Spoken Rx" feature at select pharmacies, the company announced on its website. Spoken Rx, an RFID-tagged prescription label, uses the CVS app to read customers' prescription information aloud.
The feature provides information in either English or Spanish, and tells users which prescription they are holding and how to take the medication. The company noted that the feature helps visually-impaired patients discern between their medications.
The service will be available across all CVS pharmacies in 2021.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit U.S. retailers and early on in the crisis, CVS made changes in its brick-and-mortar operations. In November, CVS announced plans to close 75 stores in 2020. The retailer later, though, went on to acquire the Schnucks' pharmacy business in March.
When the pandemic shifted spending toward essential retailers drugstores received a substantial boost overall. In May, CVS Health saw an 8.3% increase in first-quarter revenue to $66.8 billion.
Meanwhile, as drugstores cope with the increased demand spurred by the pandemic, the launch of the "Spoken Rx" feature follows other technological investments CVS and its competitors have made.
In April, the drugstore chain partnered with UPS Flight Forward to transport medications to The Villages, Florida, the largest retirement community in the U.S. The company also started testing out self-driving delivery vehicles in June and began offering customers gift incentives for connecting their mobile apps to their loyalty rewards in July. Meanwhile, Rite Aid did a soft-launch of its new website and mobile app in April.
As drugstores revamp their operations and invest for the future, other retail giants are making their way into the healthcare market. Walgreens will open up to 700 primary care clinics in partnership with VillageMD and invest $1 billion as part of the deal. Amazon announced this week that it is providing on-site or nearby health clinics for employees. Earlier this month, Walmart said it will sell health insurance coverage to customers.