Next Things First

Everyday Low Prices? More Views on the Wal-Mart EMR News by charlottegee
April 1, 2009, 12:23 pm
Filed under: electronic medical records, health it | Tags: , ,

We wanted to pass along another viewpoint on the Wal-Mart EMR news, this one from Don Fornes at Software Advice. He’s got a nice post up: Wal-Mart + eClinicalWorks Electronic Medical Records | An Odd Couple with Good Intentions.

The Wal-Mart / eClinicalWorks (eCW) partnership to sell electronic medical records (EMR) software in Sam’s Club strikes us as an odd couple. While we think eCW will benefit from this marketing coup, we don’t see the relationship lasting over the long term. Certainly, the intent is good: simplify a traditionally complex and expensive purchase by distributing through a low-cost distribution channel. … However, we don’t think EMR software presents the same economies of scale that Wal-Mart relies on to deliver “everyday low prices.” Wal-Mart can sell a wide range of products at low prices because they negotiate massive bulk purchases, run dramatically efficient logistics and efficiently manage inventory….

Furthermore, we do see some very real sales and services challenges arising from this partnership. Simply put: sophisticated, $25,000 EMR systems don’t sell themselves. Get a Wal-Mart “greeter” involved and things could get ugly. Wal-Mart has already stumbled a bit trying to support the relatively complex sale of iPhones. EMRs are a far more complex sale. My mind goes to the horribly awkward image of a brilliant, yet intolerant, cardiologist interrogating a greeter about eCW functionality. The mismatch of intellect and clinical expertise could be incendiary. …

We don’t expect this partnership to be a failure. Instead, we think it will accelerate eCW’s already impressive growth and position in the market. The awareness generated by the relationship will be well worth it for eCW. As for Wal-Mart, we expect them to realize sooner rather than later that they can make more money elsewhere. They’ll give this program a year or so, and then put something a little more traditional on the shelves.

Posted by CharlotteGee


1 Comment so far
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I am happy that there ARE reasons that massive adoption of a uniform record system would be beneficial to providers, payers, patients and everyone else.

As a total novice in this field despite growing up on the Larry Weed system, I will take the bet against Walmart. Thanks for the tip on the system I will look to first for an EMR system. DrJaz

Comment by James S. Smeltzer, MD

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