Walmart Heads Into Healthcare

It may come as a surprise to you that the world’s largest company by revenue is now attempting to break into the healthcare industry. They recently opened their first Walmart Health Center in Dallas, Georgia and plan to open another one soon on Calhoun, Georgia. This is just the start of the company’s aspirations to get more rooted in the healthcare industry.  

The goal is to implement the same business strategy they had used for retail and offer a variety of services conveniently at an affordable cost notwithstanding the person status. The retailer says that their customers will be informed of the price of treatment at the time the appointment is booked.

This is not the first time Walmart has tried this customer-centered approach to healthcare. In the past, they weren’t that successful. Sean Slovenski, Walmart’s president of health and wellness, says this a top priority for the company and they plan to excel. They have the right team and strategy in place, and it’s the right time, says Slovenski.

The new Walmart Health Center is next to Walmart Supercenter and will have a separate entrance for patients.  There is a large sign right before the front door that lists all the services offered at the health center such as primary care, vision, pharmacy, dental, counseling, lab testing, and hearing. The center will be staffed with local healthcare professionals.

There is also a remodeled vision center at the Walmart Supercenter equipped with up-to-date tools for vision and screenings. Patients can sit and wait in a big area with a glass partition from which you they can see the rest of Walmart Supercenter.

An Essentials PetCare clinic is also opening so pets can have routine vaccinations and receive treatment for minor illnesses. According to Walmart, pet vaccinations will start as low as $25. This is just the beginning of what Walmart wants to accomplish not only in the physical but also in the virtual world.

CVS had announced earlier this year they wanted to open about 1,500 HealthHubs in their stores by 2021 in partnership with Aetna. They plan to offer healthcare services inside their stores with consultations with clinicians, labs, blood testing, screenings, and even yoga will be available. The hubs are part of the company’s initiatives to introduce new services and products intended to treat chronic conditions, encourage engagement and build technology.

Walmart seems to be positioning itself against CVS. There is also more competition as others try to take advantage of this business opportunity. Malls, for example, are already adding clinics on space abandoned by retail. Even Best Buy is finding a way into the market with the acquisition of GreatCall, a connected health technology company that provides safety products and services to older adults nationwide, including mobile apps, cellular service through Verizon, and mobile devices.

Walmart’s expansion should not come as a surprise. The world of healthcare is changing faster than you can imagine and change is often a good thing.  Future technological innovation and new business strategies will keep transforming the healthcare industry to help us get where we need to be. It can be disappointing and frustrating, particularly for the older generation, but it will not surprise them as they are already used to change and seem to implement it quite well.

So, we welcome the future of healthcare and everything it has to offer with optimism knowing that what’s ahead will get us somewhere.  

Sources
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4147743/

  • https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2019/09/13/walmarts-first-healthcare-services-super-center-opens/#29128df979d2

  • https://www.aarp.org/health/health-care-reform/news-11-2011/walmart-primary-care-provider.html

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