CVS Spoken Rx Reads Prescription Labels to Patients
CVS Pharmacy has introduced a tool that will read out prescription labels for those with impaired vision or who otherwise may have difficulty reading the label. The Spoken Rx tool, developed in a partnership with the American Council of the Blind, has rolled out to the almost 10,000 CVS pharmacies around the U.S.
Spoken Rx is a free service within the CVS Pharmacy mobile app. Users with limited sight can access the feature on iOS devices by asking Siri or using Voiceover, and Google Assistant will pull it up on Android devices. Users need to first have a registered CVS account and enroll in Spoken Rx by phone or at the pharmacy. CVS also offers a stand-alone speaker for Spoken Rx if the customer doesn’t have a smartphone. Once the user is registered, they can activate Spoken Rx from the label on the bottom of their prescription containers. The feature can detect and identify these RFID labels, and will read out the information connected to the prescription, including who it is for, what’s inside, and how to take it safely. The voice can recite the information in English or Spanish.
“We continue to remove barriers to health care for all patients, and this in-app technology furthers our commitment by providing patients added flexibility and independence,” CVS Health senior vice president of store operations Jared Tancrelle said. “Our patients are increasingly digitally connected, so digital tools like Spoken Rx are a priority for us as we listen to feedback and adapt our suite of pharmacy services and programs to ensure we’re best meeting the needs of all consumers.”
Accessibility features are a growing feature for voice AI. Amazon has compiled its Alexa-related offerings in the Alexa Accessibility Hub like the Show and Tell feature uses Alexa on Echo Show smart displays to identify groceries and other household items, with barcodes added to the list not long after. And Alexa worked with Voiceitt to help people with atypical and impaired speech convey their words in a way the voice assistant understands. Amazon also has information about its accessibility services and tools for British users with reduced vision in its RNIB Helpline Alexa skill. Meanwhile, Google has the Lookout feature that can read food labels for Android, voice cues for Google Maps to guide people with limited sight and Project Relate app to help those with speech impairments use Google Assistant.
Accessibility becomes extra crucial when the subject is healthcareCVS already had Braille and large-print prescription labels, but Spoken Rx could help reduce the 125,000 annual deaths in the U.S. caused by people not taking medicine the way they are told, according to the CDC. CVS and the American Council of the Blind ran a pilot program for Spoken Rx in 2020. That success led to CVS’ chain-wide deployment.
“This is a positive step that offers same-day, access for prescriptions filled in CVS stores,” American Council of the Blind executive director Eric Bridges said. “Spoken Rx allows for a greater level of privacy, safety, and independence for blind and visually impaired customers.”