Ed Albrektsen

Director , McKesson

Supernova Award Category: 
AI and Augmented Humanity
The Organization: 

McKesson Corporation is a global leader in healthcare supply chain management solutions, retail pharmacy, community oncology and specialty care, and healthcare information solutions. McKesson partners with pharmaceutical manufacturers, providers, pharmacies, governments and other organizations in healthcare to help provide the right medicines, medical products and healthcare services to the right patients at the right time, safely and cost-effectively. United by our ICARE shared principles, our employees work every day to innovate and deliver opportunities that make our customers and partners more successful — all for the better health of patients.



The Problem: 

We are experiencing a general labor shortage in many parts of the country. This year’s seasonal campaigns will add over 2K temporary agents who will all be remote WFH agents. We needed effective ways to monitor and manage our remote workforce to keep agents happy and to help with the overload of seasonal calls. We wanted to offer selfservice options to our customers and also assist agents with simple interactions. We worked with Five9 to identify ways that their IVA - Intelligent Virtual Agent would be able to help deliver these results. Agents would have to spend time looking up information that the customer/patient may not have readily available during their prescription refill request and the second use case is agents would have to put patients on hold to verify Medicare eligibility and that would take minutes of the agent verifying details and having the patient on hold. 

The Solution: 

Five9 IVA- Prescription refill services- patient calls in and in an automated way fill their prescription. If patient has the prescription number we're able to process that with the pharmacy and in this situation we actually ship the medication- using IVA when patient does not have their prescription number. With IVA what we're doing is inserting IVA into the existing IVR call flow and then it is fielding the information of verifying information from the patient and then it then completes the refill transaction all without agent interaction. 

Medical/CMS benefit investigation were actually using IVA in a bot to bot communication situation using IVA to communicate to a bot with preset questions and waiting for responses back from Medicare and then we're collecting that information and then feeding the information back into our systems to where we can begin to process claims for for patients.

The Results: 

Prior to Five9 IVA we were experiencing high average handle time and call abandonment rates, which were further exacerbated by labor shortage problems of recruiting and retaining agents. We needed to automate in order to improve customer experience and meet service delivery requirements- please see metrics for further details. 


In just 10 months through March of this year, they are deflecting more than 40,000 calls per month , which would require 36 human agents to perform this work manually, resulting in $2.2M of annualized savings, which represents approximately 10% total labor costs”

Agents no longer have to wait on hold for CMS benefit investigation requests and customers can self service 24/7 with the prescription refill. 

The Technology: 

Five9 Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA) leverages the latest AI technologies (natural language processing, sentiment analysis, speech recognition, text-to-speech) to deliver intuitive, effective call resolution without a live agent.

Disruptive Factor: 

Not until this deployment of IVA have we been able to fully service customers 24/7. Agents were availble during contact center hours and now customers can call in at any time to refill their prescriptions easily. Customers and agents no longer have to wait minutes while the agent is verifying eligibility- it has been a game changer and we are seeing results both in satisfaction, efficiency, and productivity. 

Shining Moment: 

Most proud that McKesson is at the forefront of this AI technology and working with Five9 to continue finding additional ways to provide amazing customer experiences with our patients/customers. 

About McKesson

McKesson Corporation is an American company distributing pharmaceuticals and providing health information technology, medical supplies, and care management tools. The company delivers a third of all pharmaceuticals used in North America, COVID-19 pandemic, distributor for Covid19 vaccine doses and ancillary supply kits for 1+billion doses in US.