Building Machines That Care

Jul 9, 2018
At Express Scripts, along with our outstanding workforce, machines help ensure 100 million people have access to medications that are effective, affordable and safe.


RPh Computer ArticleWhile we tend to think of machines in a macro, large-scale sense, a machine is defined as a device or system that transmits a force or directs its application. Machines, essentially, are everywhere, and they exist on the smallest level of service. The software we deliver, no matter how small the task it performs, is essentially, a machine or collection of machines.

At Express Scripts, along with our outstanding workforce, machines help ensure 100 million people have access to medications that are effective, affordable and safe. When someone needs a prescription, we deploy a small army of machines to review the formulary, determine the cost of the medication, scan for all other prescriptions being taken by the patient, and determine the safety of the medicines in combinations. We essentially ensure that the combination of medications will not produce adverse effects. Tasks like these are not only critical, but also can be life giving. And our machines do all of these things in mere milliseconds, millions of times a day.

As a healthcare opportunity company, we at Express Scripts are committed to constant improvements for our clients and the system. Our flexible offerings and technology platform allow us to partner to create more personalized solutions for clients, healthcare providers and patients, in pursuit of better outcomes for all. We believe healthcare can do more. We are Champions for Better.

With that in mind, our Digital Experience team has taken up the question, “How can we build machines that care?” as part of our mission, and as part of the answer, we have developed these principles:

  1. Use Human Language: We're using content that's easy to understand and meaningful for patients. For example, which do you find more useful and empathetic? Being told your refill is ready for members 1234567890 and 0987654321, or being told that refills are ready for your two children? Extra words or numbers may be correct, but they aren't worth the space they take up on the screen if they don't mean anything to the member.
  2. Personalization Over Anonymity: We value and appreciate our members, so while each one of them has a member number, we communicate with "Carla" and not "1234567890." We want Carla to get the most value out of our website, so we build machines that can recognize if she hasn't used the site in a while and can offer her a tour of new features and tools. If a prescription is currently being filled and will be shipped, we provide a personalized update with this information.
  3. Stand for Equality: Our Digital Experience team consistently ensures we're accessible and compliant, but we want to raise the bar on what it means to be accessible: We seek to provide equality. One of the ways we do this is by developing inclusive design patterns. For example, some members may not identify with typical gender choices, so we're ensuring we have options for everyone to access safe and affordable medications.
  4. Set Emotional Goals: We are real people serving real people. We're setting empathy targets, which help us dig deeper into the end-user experience by reminding us to ask ourselves, "What do I want others to think, to say, to do and to feel when they're interacting with us?" 
  5. Remember What Real Life Is Like: Beyond usability testing, we're defining real-world scenarios to test. For example, busy moms who are head of household make up one of our large user populations. Time is a precious commodity, and they are often multi-tasking through their day, with lots of distractions. For this user population, we defined success in real life as the ability to complete a prescription reorder single handedly. We literally meant single handedly, as in holding a phone in one hand and a baby in the other, while using our app. In early testing with our new mobile app, it took about 32 seconds to complete a refill under these real-life conditions. It's our goal not only to build user-friendly software, but to define real-world success scenarios for all.

We have many more elements we take into account when working to improve the user experience, but these principles are always at the heart of our work. We're a company that takes on tough challenges, and we're leading our industry and building machines that care.

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