CVS launching platform to help employers, universities safely reopen amid COVID-19

CVS Pharmacy
CVS is launching a new platform to help employers and universities reopen. (Mike Mozart/CC BY 2.0)(Image: Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0)

CVS Health is the latest company to launch a solution aimed at helping employers and university campuses safely reopen amid COVID-19.

The Return Ready solution offers employers and colleges the ability to customize a testing and tracing strategy that best fits them, officials said in an announcement.

CVS will offer on-site testing administered by its clinicians or drive-thru tests at a CVS Pharmacy location, alongside a dashboard for tracking testing capacity and results.

Sree Chaguturu, M.D., chief medical officer at CVS Caremark, told Fierce Healthcare that having a large degree of customizability was critical to Return Ready’s design.   

“We recognize that employers and universities will have very unique circumstances and they need that configurability,” he said.

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Clients that sign on with Return Ready can also choose the type of test they’d prefer to offer. Some companies or universities, especially those with high population density, may want tests that provide immediate results for contact tracing purposes.

Others, meanwhile, may instead prefer more traditional lab testing, which will provide results more slowly but makes it easier to test many people in one batch. CVS expects many Return Ready users will opt for a mixed approach.

The platform builds on CVS’ investments in growing its testing capacity under the pandemic. The healthcare giant anticipates that it will have 1,400 testing locations open by the end of this week, and it has put a focus on underserved and minority communities.

Through the dashboard, the employer or university will receive daily reports on the number of tests performed and the test results at different worksites. The dashboard will also offer alerts to both employers and employees when a test is positive.

Chaguturu said the platform is designed to allow employers track and trace any outbreaks and different worksites. He added that the data will not be provided to third parties, but will be reported to public health authorities as required.

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Another critical piece to the design of Return Ready is its adaptability to the changing science around COVID-19. Chaguturu said the virus was identified less than a year ago, and it's rare for there to be such an influx of research and analysis on one specific condition.

As such, CVS’ clinical teams will continue to review the latest literature on the virus and adapt the tech platforms to suit the evolving science, he said.  

“This is the type of challenge I really believe CVS Health is best positioned to do,” Chaguturu said.