CVS Pharmacy, A commercial component of CVS Health of $ 292 billion, has a widely used app and site that is used to plan various vaccines, including that of COVID-19. But there is a problem: it has a glitch that allows customers to schedule appointments and then cancel without explanation a few hours later.
The issue involves so-called inappropriate responses. In other words, if a customer says something that should block his or her time (such as an allergy to a vaccine or that his or her most recent shot, etc.), the app should stop the process. Instead, accept the wrong answer, ask a few more questions, and indicate that the appointment is valid.
A few hours later – in one case, it was the next day, which was the day of the planned shooting – he canceled the appointment without any explanation. Rather, it lists the possible reasons, but it does not say which ones, if any, are applicable. (In our experimental experiments, nothing works.)
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CVS declined to discuss the issue, which includes how it happened and what customers should do about it. The company has sent a statement that did not comment on the matter at all. (How fun the company is.)
For the record, the overall statement reads: “Our team was able to quickly create a digital immunization program on CVS.com and the CVS app. Developed at the end of the user experience, we developed an editing tool to meet the changing CDC recommendations throughout the epidemic and updated it regularly to ensure seamless information for our patients. With guidance from the CDC and the State Government, our digital planning system uses authentication to help reduce barriers and improve access to vaccines. We have delivered 59 million vaccines by 2021, most of which have successfully booked using our digital planning system. In rare cases the deadline is canceled, patients have the option to reschedule using a digital tool, or by contacting their local pharmacy team. ”
Apparently the system does not look at responses close enough to determine if an appointment should be approved, but somehow updates the responses hours later. From a planning perspective, this is absurd. Answers are not open-ended questions, where the user can write answers. They are many options, as well as day-to-day items in their format.
It should be a straightforward matter to block an appointment as soon as an incorrect response is given.
Secondly what happens once the system has determined that the appointment should not be approved. It sends a cancellation note and encourages the user to try setting it again. That is the key. If the user does not know the reason why the appointment has been canceled, there is a good chance they will do something wrong again and install an endless loop.
Here is a helpful message the CVS system sends: “We apologize for canceling your deadline. If you did not request this, we may cancel due to weather conditions, changes in vaccine delivery, or any other issue affecting your pharmacy. We know that this policy decision is important to you, and we apologize for any concerns or inconveniences. We are here to help you get your vaccine as quickly as possible. To reschedule, please visit the vaccine editor to book your new schedule or call 1-855-287-3456 (TTY: 711) to speak with the agent for more information. ”
However, the agent in question apparently could not reach the reason for the cancellation of the appointment, so that was a pleasant waste of time.
All of this started to remind me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry kept the rental car, but the agency gave it to him. In this case, CVS is able to make an appointment, but does not know how to make the appointment.
After the CVS media relations were unwilling to answer questions about the issue, I contacted several other CVS people – including the former CVS chief executive who got into trouble, could not deal with the problem, resigned and arranged a meeting. Walmart.
It’s too bad. I tried calling the CVS pharmacy when the shooting was scheduled to find out what was going on. The telephone system asked if this involved a goal. I was shocked and answered truthfully – which sent me a call center with no idea why it had been canceled. After pleading with me to stay connected to the store in question, they finally agreed – and then they transferred me to the wrong store.
I went through the whole process again, they sent me to the wrong store. Third, I chose the option of “do you call in a doctor’s office?” (I thought briefly about the technical accuracy of driving to the doctor’s office and to the waiting room. But my laziness exceeded my honesty.)
After choosing a doctor’s option, I immediately approached the appropriate pharmacist who had a problem: the calendar was less than two days old. When I rescheduled a new day, everything went well.
This made it clear that the program – to some degree – understood the issue of the calendar. Why did he not prevent the appointment as soon as he saw the answer? And when that doesn’t happen, why is the cancellation notice so inconsistent that there was no need to try to talk to the pharmacist?
The strangest thing is the delay between error and cancellation of an appointment. Did someone review the appointments in person? That seems unlikely. And again, it is less likely that the system will find a fault, and somehow find it several hours later.