CVS Health expects to have its first concept stores up and running early next year, said CEO Larry Merlo.
Merlo said CVS envisions a “hub-and-spoke concept” where the concept stores or “hubs” are in a “set number of stores within a given market and the balance of the stores would have a core set of offerings that would serve as a referral source to those hub stores.”
The test stores hinge on the retailer’s acquisition of Aetna, which is expected to close by Thanksgiving.
Since the close of Q3, CVS Health received the Department of Justice’s conditional approval of the Aetna acquisition, dependent on the divestment of Aetna’s standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. Of the 28 states, CVS is waiting on just five state approvals.
“In the meantime, our integration work continues to make great progress and our teams are working extremely well together to assure that once final approvals are obtained, we can immediately begin to execute our integration plans,” said Merlo. “Both CVS and Aetna are passionate about revolutionizing the consumer health care experience and while we have been clear that the cost savings are substantial, this transaction is about the significant value creation that will be realized as a result of growth.”
The health services solutions CVS is already working on will be accessible through a broad range of channels, from local community-based assets to virtual and digital solutions, all unified across the customer’s journey. The solutions will be available to Aetna clients and their members, as well as the wide array of health care partners CVS works with, through an open platform model.
CVS’s stores of the future are the cornerstone of this work, said Merlo. Through these concept stores, CVS will pilot several programs and explore new services to better address the cost-quality-access challenges of consumers and identify the most effective and scalable solutions, so they can be rolled out more broadly across the CVS enterprise.
“Remaking the consumer experience will be an increasingly important competitive differentiator and we are hard at work creating a plan to differentiate CVS Health in these patient journeys with the goal of making them simpler and more personalized, while making care more accessible,” said Merlo.