Today the CVS pharmacy chain announced that it will stop selling tobacco products on October 1st, and will change its name to CVS Health. This announcement alone may seem expected, and may not look like it has much of a connection to Healthcare Information Technology. However, let’s look back to Feb 21 of this year to the announcement that CVS will deploy the Epic electronic medical record module EpicCare into its MinuteClinic locations. MinuteClinic is an example of a small drop-in clinic built into retail locations where consumers can be seen for immunizations and semi-urgent medical needs. These clinics are sometimes called “doc-in-a-box”. There have been over 350 new MinuteClinic locations added in the past three years, with a goal of 1,500 clinics by 2017.
This shows a shift in the traditional retail pharmacy outlets. Groups like CVS will continue their foray into becoming healthcare providers of sorts. About 52 percent of the U.S. patient population is on Epic, and many of them use the associated MyChart patient portal, which allows patients to connect to their healthcare providers to manage health issues, including reordering medications. For CVS, the connection to patients’ medications will mean that they have a direct path to process medication refills if they implement MyChart along with the EpicCare EMR .
What this could mean for job seekers is that if you’re a pharmacy technician who is looking to get into Healthcare IT, you might consider working for CVS. You then have a chance of getting access to EpicCare, the most highly used EMR in the country. They currently have IT job listings in Woonsocket, RI, Scottsdale, AZ, and Richardson, TX. Some states have a two-tiered pharmacy technician program in which the higher level certification requires a 9 month certification; and a entry level position requires no formal education beyond a high school diploma. This could be the entry point for those having a hard time finding another way to break into Healthcare IT.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post about the future of retail pharmacies. You can always reach out to me through the contact form on this site, or via Twitter @LearnHealthTech.
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