Five Questions With: Stuart McGuigan

Senior vice president and chief information officer of CVS Caremark Corp. talks about the company’s IT work and his role on the R.I. Science and Technology Advisory Council. More

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Five Questions With: Stuart McGuigan

COURTESY CVS
"WE RECRUIT for the same skills that most companies look for: top technical talent, good management skills and “good people” – although that last part is hard to quantify," said Stuart M. McGuigan, Senior vice president and chief information officer of CVS Caremark Corp.
Posted 2/15/12

Editor’s Note: This is the last part of a series of interviews with Rhode Island’s top technology professionals.

Stuart M. McGuigan joined CVS Caremark Corp. in December 2008 as senior vice president and chief information officer. A seasoned executive with many years of information systems management experience, McGuigan previously served in a similar role at Liberty Mutual group and Medco Health Solutions.

McGuigan heads CVS Caremark’s corps of technology professionals – 6,200 nationally and 1,100 locally – effectively Rhode Island’s largest employer of IT professionals.

McGuigan is responsible for the company’s information systems and technology operations – technology strategy, application development and technology infrastructure. He also joined the R.I. Science and Technology Advisory Council in 2010.

PBN: What’s your favorite part of the job? What’s the most difficult?

MCGUIGAN: Interestingly enough, they are actually one and the same. We recognize that there has never been a deeper need for our IT team to understand how the business actually works – not just understanding the strategies, but also having a good degree of operational depth.

In my job I spend a high percentage of my time with business leaders and business groups – more than I ever have before. The challenge is to have a deep enough understanding of each to be able to communicate well and add value. That’s the part I like. But when you add that to the continually evolving world of technology, you end up with a lot of homework to stay ahead of the game!

PBN: What is your vision for CVS Caremark in 2012? What five-year trends do you foresee in the pharmacy services industry?

MCGUIGAN: When you think about the ongoing transformation in health care today, we all know that the challenges are numerous and new approaches are needed to survive and thrive in this new environment. We see several trends that are shaping the health care landscape, trends that exist as both challenges and opportunities.

First, the fact that costs will continue to rise and that will be further intensified by an aging population.

Second, exacerbating this problem is an insufficient focus on low-cost solutions, such as preventive care and prescription drug adherence.

Third, the current shortage of primary care doctors, combined with a growing demand, will result in a major physician shortage – not to mention the lack of integration between physicians and other providers that already exists today.

Fourth, the fact that the consumer will take on greater accountability for their health care as direct to consumer markets grow and employers shift more and more of the costs onto their employees.

PBN: What interesting tech projects does CVS have underway?

MCGUIGAN: To encourage innovation, we use leading edge technologies in a way that may not have been immediately apparent to our individual businesses. There is certainly no shortage of opportunities in health care for new applications of technology.

I see us continuing to use technology to help our patients manage their health better. Our patient care programs are unique. For example, our systems let the pharmacist know very quickly whether a patient is coming in with a new prescription and needs some help with understanding the treatment regimen or if a patient has not been taking their medication regularly and may need support and counseling.

PBN: As Rhode Island’s largest IT employer, what skills do you most recruit for and do you have trouble finding qualified talent?

MCGUIGAN: We recruit for the same skills that most companies look for: top technical talent, good management skills and “good people” – although that last part is hard to quantify. We strive to create an environment where we do all the things a good IT operation does – and innovate. Because we use technology to achieve and maintain a competitive business advantage, we are well known and do not have much trouble attracting employees. CVS Caremark also has a reputation as a great place to work.

PBN: Why did you join the Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council? What new initiatives might we see from the Council in 2012?

MCGUIGAN: CVS Caremark had been represented on the Council for a number of years at the most senior management level. So, I was delighted to join and to become part of the work that it is doing to develop Rhode Island into a “knowledge community.” Strategic investments that drive economic development and job creation, initiatives supporting the state’s research and development activity are central for the STAC. I would encourage other business leaders to become more familiar with STAC’s mission and all the exciting work going on.

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