Next Things First


Wal-Mart to Sell EMRs (Wait … What?) by charlottegee
March 11, 2009, 2:34 pm
Filed under: electronic medical records, health it | Tags: , ,

“We’re a high-volume, low-cost company,” said Marcus Osborne, senior director for health care business development at Wal-Mart. “And I would argue that mentality is sorely lacking in the health care industry.”

According to the New York Times, Wal-Mart “is striding into the market for electronic health records:”

The company plans to team its Sam’s Club division with Dell for computers and eClinicalWorks, a fast-growing private company, for software. Wal-Mart says its package deal of hardware, software, installation, maintenance and training will make the technology more accessible and affordable, undercutting rival health information technology suppliers by as much as half. … The Sam’s Club offering, to be made available this spring, will be under $25,000 for the first physician in a practice, and about $10,000 for each additional doctor. After the installation and training, continuing annual costs for maintenance and support will be $4,000 to $6,500 a year, the company estimates. Wal-Mart says it had explored the opportunity in health information technology long before the presidential election. About 200,000 health care providers, mostly doctors, are among Sam Club’s 47 million members. And the company’s research showed the technology was becoming less costly and interest was rising among small physician practices, according to Todd Matherly, vice president for health and wellness at Sam’s Club.walmart

The Wall Street Journal Health Blog adds: “Wal-Mart has been getting more deeply involved in health care in recent years, drawing a lot of attention for its $4 generic-drug program. It has improved its image in health after drawing criticism for offering stingy health benefits.”

And from Chilmark Research’s blog:

Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club has no credibility, no brand, no nothing in the technology solutions market. Hell, they don’t even have a Geek Squad. … if it were our money, we would go with an HIT specific solution provider who has a few years under their belt installing, training and servicing fellow physicians. Wal-Mart brings none of that to the HITECH gold rush.

What do you think?

A. Wal-Mart: A Study in Cool (Health Care Innovation)
B. Wal-Mart, WTF?
C. Whatever, Wal-Mart. We need to go back to the drawing board and completely rethink HIT before it gets out of hand. (One doctor close to us asks: Where’s the “Apple of EHRs”?)

Posted by CharlotteGee

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1 Comment so far
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Couldn’t agree more with Chilmark… As a physician I can understand buying copy paper, coffee and the like at Walmart…. but HITECH… nope.
Now… that said… the folks at Walmart are known for being fairly savvy business types. I can’t imagine they dove into this without significant analysis and forethought. From the outside looking in it doesn’t look like they have much in the way of downside risk…

Sure is interesting…

Comment by Howard Luks




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