CVS Health and telehealth outfit Amwell have joined together to unveil the former’s virtual primary care service, signaling the retail drugstore chain’s next steps in establishing a stronger online presence.
The announcement was made during Amwell’s second-quarter earnings call, during which CEO Dr. Ido Schoenberg said the telehealth platform would be powering CVS’ virtual care offering.
CVS Health filed for a trademark in March that would allow it to sell goods and services in the metaverse. A metaverse is a network of three-dimensional virtual worlds – sometimes described as a version of the internet that functions as a single, digital world facilitated by the use of virtual and augmented reality headsets.
The virtual care service would purportedly allow consumers access to primary and on-demand care, as well as behavioral health and chronic condition management. Aetna and CVS Caremark members can use the service on-demand from their phones or other devices.
Schoenberg described the platform as “a single integrated experience with a unified digital front door.”
In the March filing, CVS Health said it wants to trademark its logo, establish an online store and create downloadable virtual goods, ranging from prescription drugs to beauty and personal care products.
CVS also wants to transition some of its in-store health services to a virtual setting, such as non-emergency medical treatment services, wellness programs, nutrition advisory services, and health lifestyle and nutrition counseling.
The company will create its downloadable virtual goods using blockchain technology. Digital assets and collectibles will be sold as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
NFTs are poised to become a significant source of revenue for companies operating in the virtual realm, positioning CVS to potentially tap into a new and burgeoning market opportunity.
The filing describes an online marketplace for buyers and sellers of downloadable multimedia files containing artwork, text, audio and video relating to retail consumer goods featuring a variety of consumer goods, prescription drugs, health, wellness, beauty and personal care products, and general merchandise authenticated by non-fungible tokens.
CVS also plans to sell non-virtual consumer goods via the metaverse.
The term ‘metaverse’ has gained popularity since Facebook announced its intent to launch a metaverse, essentially providing a 3D, virtual iteration of its social media platform. Facebook went so far as to change its name to Meta, an umbrella company that owns social media platforms Facebook and Instagram.
While CVS Health plans to up its presence in the virtual world, it will have a smaller presence in the physical one, as it announced plans in November to close 900 of its stores nationwide over the next three years, restructuring itself to offer more healthcare services in the remaining locations.
CVS beat industry expectations by bringing in $2.3 billion in profit in the first quarter of this year, a slight increase over the $2.2 billion profit posted during the same time last year. The company also saw revenue climb 11.2% over that time, hitting $76.8 billion during the quarter, compared to $69.1 billion in Q1 2021.