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Kroger Health is Reimagining Healthcare Through Cloud Modernization

Project Highlights

Kroger and Core BTS were in the process of modernizing and migrating applications to Microsoft Azure.

Upon selection of COVID-19 vaccination partnership, Kroger and Core BTS had to pivot to develop a tool that would help millions of customers request and schedule a COVID-19 vaccination.

Kroger associates have leveraged internal tool to receive vaccinations.

Kroger Health is on track to administer millions of vaccines per week.

Business Situation

The Kroger Company has long understood the importance of leveraging digital technology to improve the experience and lives of their customers, associates, and partners. Leveraging digital technology became critical with the rise of COVID-19, as Kroger experienced increased demand within their Healthcare business, Kroger Health. As a result, Kroger Health knew they needed to enhance the functionality and security of their application portfolio.

Therefore, Kroger Health began to modernize applications and workloads by migrating to Microsoft Azure. The transformation would result in multiple on-prem applications and services being migrated into the cloud by the end of 2021 – providing their customers with the resources and solutions they needed while paving the way for Kroger’s business to scale.

As the organization embarked on their journey to the cloud, Kroger Health was selected by the President of the United States as a partner for the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. The first of its kind, the program placed Kroger Health as a top partner in the battle against the COVID-19 virus, with life-saving access to distribution of vaccines.

Dedicated to helping people live healthier lives, Kroger Health immediately pivoted from their existing modernization initiatives to focus on a solution that would make it easy and efficient for millions of customers to view, access, and book vaccine appointments across Kroger’s 2,500 U.S. locations.

“Core BTS helped us enable hundreds of thousands of appointments in a short amount of time, and we expect millions more will occur over the next few months. Together, we are saving lives and supporting our customers’ desire to return to a normal routine.”

Ann Wiesman | Director of Pharmacy Systems | Kroger

Our Solution

Kroger Health tapped Core BTS to migrate and modernize their existing infrastructure, data, and applications to Microsoft Azure. Through more than 35 sessions, Core BTS discovered and recommended that Kroger rebuild eight applications in the cloud.

Following approval from Kroger management and key stakeholders, Core BTS strategically outlined a detailed cloud roadmap. The comprehensive plan included a migration timeline and a cloud architecture framework featuring Azure Data Lake, Azure SQL, Azure Synapse, and more.

Core BTS began building a Data Foundation that would help Kroger Health standardize, govern, and model their data in Microsoft Azure. Kroger had three legacy on-prem databases that were transformed by leveraging Azure Databricks and Azure Data Factory, hosted in Azure SQL DB.

The next priority application to be delivered was Kroger’s internal pharmacy application. However, Kroger and Core BTS were forced to pivot to focus on the Patient scheduling application in December 2020, when Kroger Health was selected as a partner for the White House Pharmacy program to expand vaccination distribution.

Immediately, Core BTS and Kroger adjusted the strategy to focus on building a solution that would enable customers and Kroger associates to schedule vaccination appointments via an intuitive and non-disruptive online tool.

This solution required Core BTS, in partnership with Kroger’s ecommerce and digital teams, to develop new APIs and logic flows that connect to existing tools and systems via Java. The goal was to build these API connectors in one central location to rapidly enable the scheduling tool to support the creation of nearly 300,000 appointments per day.

With a tight timeline, Core BTS strategized and began developing the connectors to quickly get the system operational. Core and Kroger worked through the Christmas holidays to fix various issues including critical logic and dependency disconnects amongst the various legacy systems and code.

The coded solutions were then quickly placed into production leveraging Azure solutions and services (Azure Database, DataLake, etc.).

The Results

Core BTS helped deploy a solution that has enabled Kroger to deliver and administer COVID-19 vaccines to their customers and communities across more than 35 states. In addition, Core helped re-architect and enhance their legacy internal healthcare appointment system leveraging the existing code. The new tools can now easily manage more than 250,000 requests daily, and Kroger continues to see increased demand.

Kroger is now leveraging the power of the cloud by using the APIs developed and hosted on the Azure platform. Encouraged by their experience with the scheduler application, Kroger will continue focusing on migrating and modernizing their six existing on-prem applications that were paused because of the focus on this COVID-19 project.

About Kroger Health

Kroger Health, the healthcare division of The Kroger Co., is one of America's leading retail healthcare organizations, with over 2,200 pharmacies and 224 clinics (called The Little Clinic) in 37 states, plus Washington D.C., serving more than 14 million customers. Their team of 22,000 healthcare practitioners - from pharmacists and nurse practitioners, to dietitians and technicians – are committed to helping people live healthier lives. Thery believe in practicing at the top of their licenses and enabling "food as medicine" to help prevent and manage chronic disease. They are dedicated to providing testing and wellness services to help Americans combat the COVID-19 crisis.

Technologies Used

Microsoft Azure

Azure Databricks

Azure Data Factory

Azure SQL Database