CVS Health hits 44M unique digital customers in Q1

In November, CVS Health said it would close 900 stores as part of a pivot to a digital focus.

On the company's first-quarter earnings call, executives said it's digital-first approach is paying off, as the healthcare giant now serves 44 million unique customers through digital channels at the end of the first quarter. CEO Karen Lynch told investors that includes more than 7 million new customers added since its December investor day.

Digital customers engage with CVS in an "omnichannel" way, she said, and visit CVS Health on average two times more than traditional customers.

"We are focused on our digital-first technology-forward approach," Lynch said.

Another focus area for digital health investment is its dashboard, Lynch said. The platform offers critical health data all in one place, aiming to make it easier for patients and families to manage their own health. It includes health records and pharmacy data alongside next-best actions.

Lynch said that CVS recorded 5 million active dashboard users as of the end of Q1, up 25% over the course of the quarter. She said CVS plans to continue enhancing the platform to allow it connect to more services later this year.

In addition, the company named Sree Chaguturu, M.D., as its new chief medical officer. He previously served as CMO at its Caremark pharmacy benefit management arm. In the role, Chaguturu will oversee CVS Health's Health Medical Affairs organization, which spans the company.

"CVS Health is uniquely positioned to build upon its existing capabilities and extensive reach to improve the health care experience for millions of people,” said Chaguturu in a statement. “Our exceptionally talented Medical Affairs organization will help align, integrate and enhance our health care services and assets to help address the needs that exist in our health care system today.”

CVS Health reported $2.3 billion in profit for the first quarter, which exceeded Wall Street's expectations.

The healthcare giant also beat the Street on revenue, posting $76.8 billion for the first quarter. Both figures are up from the first quarter of 2021, where the company reported $69.1 billion in revenue and $2.2 billion in profit.

That's a revenue increase of 11.2% year over year, according to CVS' earnings report filed Wednesday morning.

“Our strategy improves access to affordable, convenient and personalized health care, which benefits consumers and shareholders," Lynch said in a statement. "We once again showed the power of our purpose and potential, building on our strong momentum and raising full-year guidance as a result.”

Total revenues increased 9.2% in the company's retail business, hitting $25.4 billion thanks to increased store volumes and sales, including at-home COVID-19 tests. CVS said it administered more than 6 million COVID-19 tests and 8 million vaccinations in the first quarter.

Aetna, the company's health plan arm, saw double-digit revenue growth in the quarter. Revenues grew 12.8% to $23.1 billion, which CVS said reflects growth across all of its product lines. The company reported 24.5 million members as of the first quarter.

At Caremark, revenues were also up year over year, growing 8.6% to $39.4 billion on the back of higher claims volume and specialty pharmacy. 

As a result of the performance in the quarter, CVS increased its guidance to between $8.20 and $8.40 in earnings per share.