Recently CVS Health represented the new Spoken Rx. This new function was launched for those people who struggle to read a prescription label. An innovative feature on the CVS Pharmacy app, Spoken Rx reads prescription information aloud in English or in Spanish, and is available free of charge to smartphone users.
“CVS is always looking for new ways to innovate for our patients, and we want to be on the front end of innovation,” explained Christy Letourneau, Director, Pharmacy Operations. “Our patients have greater autonomy and are empowered to hear and listen to what the directions are for their medications which helps them take control of their healthcare.”
CDC’s Vision Health Initiative (VHI) and NORC at the University of Chicago partnered to develop the National Vision and Eye Health Surveillance System (VEHSS).
VEHSS leverages new and existing data sources to help health professionals, researchers, policy makers, and patients understand the scope of vision loss, eye disorders, and eye care services in the United States.
Eye Disorders in US
- Approximately 12 million people 40 years and over in the United States have vision impairment, including 1 million who are blind, 3 million who have vision impairment after correction, and 8 million who have vision impairment due to uncorrected refractive error.
- As predicted by 2050 to 8.96 million Americans aged 40 years and older will suffer from uncorrectable vision impairment due to the increasing epidemics of diabetes and other chronic diseases and our rapidly aging U.S. population.
- Approximately 6.8% of children younger than 18 years in the United States have a diagnosed eye and vision condition. Nearly 3 percent of children younger than 18 years are blind or visually impaired, defined as having trouble seeing even when wearing glasses or contact lenses.
- An estimated 93 million adults in the United States are at high risk for serious vision loss, but only half visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months.
- The annual economic impact of major vision problems among the adult population 40 years and older is more than $145 billion.
With a launch that started this past summer, Spoken Rx is offered in 1,500 retail pharmacies and will be available in all retail locations by the end of 2021. Customers can request Spoken Rx by calling their local CVS Pharmacy to learn when the innovation will be available and registering over the phone. A pharmacist then encodes a smart RFID tag on a prescription label that can be scanned by the CVS Pharmacy app on both Apple and Android phones. CVS Pharmacy is also exploring options for a physical speaker for customers without a smartphone.
“Spoken Rx increases both self-reliance and quality of life,” said Kim Charlson, the past president of the American Council for the Blind (ACB). “I don’t have to wait to ask somebody who is sighted to help me figure out which prescription bottle is which. I can take care of it right away,” she says.
A CVS Pharmacy customer in Amherst, MA commented, “Thank you for introducing the talking RX prescription reader. I have been waiting for this for years.” Joy Ross, a social media influencer and You Tuber who is blind, describes Spoken Rx as “an extremely brilliant idea for prescriptions. I’m glad a company is finally thinking about the visually impaired. I’m now a customer for life because of this one simple item/feature that will benefit many.”