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

Advertisements


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