- CVS announced on Monday the chainwide rollout of its Spoken Rx app feature that reads aloud prescription information for pharmacy customers who are blind or visually impaired.
- To use the feature, customers scan an RFID label on the prescription container using the CVS pharmacy app and then listen to information about their prescription. CVS started adding the feature at selection locations last summer and now has made it available across all of its nearly 10,000 pharmacies, including more than 1,700 within Target stores.
- The chainwide adoption of the technology comes at a time when retailers are looking to improve accessibility both online and in-store for people with disabilities.
Spoken Rx is the latest foray by CVS into not only amplifying and streamlining digital pharmacy services, but also increasing accessibility options.
Spoken Rx works with iPhone or Android smartphones, is free to use and can read information aloud — including the patient's name, medication name and prescription usage instructions — in English or Spanish. Pharmacists can help customers enroll in the program and set it up on their phones, CVS noted. For customers without a phone, CVS offers a speaker device that can read prescription information aloud.
"Our patients are increasingly digitally connected, so digital tools like Spoken Rx are a priority for us as we listen to feedback and adapt our suite of pharmacy services and programs to ensure we're best meeting the needs of all consumers," Jared Tancrelle, senior vice president of store operations at CVS Health, said in a statement.
CVS developed Spoken Rx in partnership with the American Council of the Blind. It's the latest addition to the retailer's accessibility options, which include braille, audio and large-print accessible prescription labels available online.
"Spoken Rx allows for a greater level of privacy, safety, and independence for blind and visually impaired customers," Eric Bridges, executive director of the American Council of the Blind, said in the announcement.
The pandemic has pushed pharmacy retailers to sharpen both their stores and digital properties, and retailers are ramping up investments in technology to make the consumer experience easier and more accessible. As more consumers shop online, in particular, companies are making their e-commerce platforms more accessible for shoppers with disabilities.
For CVS, technology is playing a larger role in its pharmacy offerings as the retailer ramps up its digital presence and plans to close 900 stores over the next three years.
The Food Industry Association said in a report in July found that digital features like a pharmacy locator or way to submit questions to a dietitian online are some of the main ways surveyed food retailers are working to boost health-conscious offerings. Earlier this year, Giant Eagle rolled out a virtual vitamin aisle with in-store digital stations selling personalized products.