CVS Unveils HealthHUB®

In mid-February 2019, CVS Health unveiled their new HealthHUB® store concept at three pilot locations in Houston, TX.  The new concept represents CVS Health’s effort to “transform the consumer health care experience in America.”  According to CVS Health, these stores will “offer a broader range of health care services, new product categories, digital tools and on-demand health kiosks, trusted advice and personalized care. With the new format over 20 percent of the store is now dedicated to health services, including new durable medical equipment (DME) and supplies and new product and service combinations for sleep apnea and diabetes care.”  This new concept is the first strategic concept coming from CVS Health’s acquisition of Aetna, which was completed in November 2018.

I first saw this reported by MMR (Mass Market Retailers), an industry journal, and wondered what retailers thought of CVS Health’s approach to improve their position as a health care provider in a retail outlet.  Accompanying the article was a picture of a wide-open space in the HealthHUB® location.  My first thought was that retailer traditionalists will see all that empty space and wonder how will health care services “sales” generated in that space be enough to maintain a decent “sales per square foot” figure?  My next thought was has CVS thrown that old thought process out of the window with this new concept?

USA Today reported that “traditional retail sales at CVS are increasingly less important to the company’s finances,” which evidently allows them to free up all that space seen in the picture.  USA Today said that in the first nine months of 2018 retail product sales were less then one-third of its prescription sales in that period.  Think about it – how many bottles of aspirin, tubes of first aid cream and boxes of bandages need to be sold to equal the revenue a single health care service will generate?

“Sales per square foot” is likely still important to CVS Health, but they are betting on health care services to drive that figure.  This concept is likely the future of pharmacy and healthcare increasing patient convenience and access.  Pharmacy retailers need to look at their business from a new perspective and determine how providing health care services will work for them.  CVS Health has the benefit of being aligned with a health care provider (Minute Clinic) and a payer (Aetna).  Other retailers have included clinics in there offering.  Being associated with an insurer should help drive patients to those HealthHUB® locations.

With prescriptions for high priced pharmaceuticals going to specialty pharmacies, retail pharmacies need to position themselves for the future, which all of a sudden is now!

Dave Schuetz, RPh.


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Posted March 2019

2 responses to “CVS Unveils HealthHUB®”

  1. Kyle Spaniol says:

    As a CVS pharmacist, I agree in the shift in underperforming retail real estate in stores being repurposed to help patients in their path to better health. Things like medication therapy management (MTM) and other preventative services will help provide more convenience to patients and, I hope, decrease the non-emergency strain on our nation’s hospitals. I am very excited for the future.

    • Alan Sekula says:


      Thanks for reading our blog and providing your comment! The endeavor by a major pharmacy organization to promote and advocate for pharmacist health services will go a long way to advancing the profession.

      We encourage you to keep reading our posts and please don’t hesitate to send further questions or comments.

      Thanks again,
      The PHSI Team

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