CVS is revamping its stores to take on Amazon and prepare for the future of healthcare. Take a look inside.

  • CVS Health, the largest pharmacy chain in the US, set up its first three "HealthHUBs" in Houston in February.
  • It now plans to build the hubs in 1,500 locations by the end of 2021.
  • By the end of this year, CVS plans to open up more HealthHubs in Houston, as well as in Atlanta, Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, and Tampa, Florida.
  • The HealthHub stores have an increased focus on health services, including a wellness center and more chronic care management for diseases like diabetes.
  • Take a look inside one of the new stores that could change how Americans get their healthcare.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

CVS Health and Aetna officially merged at the end of 2018, combining a chain of nearly 10,000 pharmacies that also owns a drug benefits business with one of the biggest US health insurers.

The result is an entirely new healthcare company that can wield a tremendous amount of power over how healthcare gets paid for and provided to patients.

One of the ways CVS is focusing that power is through new "HealthHUB" stores, the first three of which opened in Houston in February.

CVS on Tuesday announced plans to roll out the model nationally. By the end of 2021, the company plans to turn 1,500 of its pharmacies into locations that can provide an array of healthcare services. CVS also said Tuesday that it plans to open more hubs in Houston, as well as locations in Atlanta, Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, and Tampa, Florida by the end of 2019.

The stores have an increased focus on health services, including a wellness center and more chronic care management for diseases like diabetes, committing about 20% of the physical store space to health endeavors rather than snacks or other convenient store supplies.

The strategy also helps CVS find new use for the floor space in its 9,800 locations, as customers increasingly shop for everyday goods on websites like Amazon. And providing more care in stores can help CVS counter forays by rivals like Amazon into healthcare. Amazon, for its part, acquired the pharmacy startup PillPack last year, marking its entry into the drug-delivery business.

15 PHOTOS
CVS' revamped stores
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CVS' revamped stores

Walking up to the store, it's clear that the location is going to have a different feel to the traditional part pharmacy, part convenience store feel most CVS stores have. On the doors, it lays out what's inside with a big "Welcome to the HealthHUB" sign.

Courtesy CVS Health 

Inside, there's a familiar feel to the beauty products, snacks, and other supplies at the front of the store. An aisle leads toward the health services along the back and sides of the store.

Courtesy CVS Health

Here's what the main meeting area for the health hub looks like. This location has a MinuteClinic, labeled over the top of the greeting area. CVS already has about 1,100 MinuteClinics across its stores.

Courtesy CVS Health

The stores have a "care concierge," whose job is to guide individuals to different services, help them understand how their health insurance works, or help them use health and wellness devices and technology.

Courtesy CVS Health

For example, there are iPads at a station where customers can explore different health apps, or in this case, games.

Courtesy CVS Health

There are also areas where customers can check in on their health. This Higi station can screen for blood pressure, pulse, weight, and BMI.

Courtesy CVS Health 

Source: Higi

These are rooms for MinuteClinic appointments along the walls.

Courtesy CVS Health

The MinuteClinics in the pilot stores will offer more services, including disease screenings and blood draws. They're usually staffed by nurse practitioners or physicians' assistants, and now provide basic checkups and care for minor illnesses and ailments. The hope with the health hub is to expand that into more chronic care, managing diseases like diabetes and sleep apnea.

Courtesy CVS Health

Over at the pharmacy, not a ton looks different. Adjoining the pharmacy counter is a consultation room where pharmacists can administer flu shots and immunizations or provide wellness support for people with diabetes or those trying to quit smoking.

Courtesy CVS Health

The room is located to the left of the main health hub concierge desk, connecting the pharmacy area to the hub.

Courtesy CVS Health

CVS Health intends to devote 20% of the new health hub stores to health services, including selling medical equipment like walkers.

Courtesy CVS Health

According to the National Health Expenditures report, durable medical equipment made up about 2% — or $64.1 billion — of overall medical spending in the US. It's an area other pharmacies as well as Amazon are in.

Courtesy CVS Health 

Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, Business Insider.

The health hub also has wellness rooms, a larger space in the store where CVS employees can host fitness or nutrition classes or educate health insurance members about their benefits.

Courtesy CVS Health 

Here's what a nutrition consultation looks like inside the wellness rooms.

Courtesy CVS Health

The health hubs are key to CVS's strategy to keep patients healthier and out of the hospitals, now that CVS owns health insurer Aetna. It's a big bet that consumers will want to use retail pharmacies as their "new front door to health."

Courtesy CVS Health

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