Best known for its “everyday low prices” motto, Walmart is now taking on the healthcare industry. The brick and mortar retail giant recently rolled out the Walmart Health platform, which allows users to book appointments at its in-person clinics online. CNBC, which first spotted the development, reports that the company is also opening a new clinic dubbed Walmart Health in Georgia, which will focus on primary care and mental health.
In terms of the digital component, through the online platform patients can select various types of appointments, including medical, optometry, audiology, behavioral, dental and immunizations.
Patients are asked to select a reason for the visit. Currently, the service offers sick or chronic care visits, prevention and wellness, labs and immunization visits.
The website, which has already gone live, lists the prices of lab tests, immunizations and injections. It also gives a range ($59 to $99) of how much clinical care prices are without insurance. Patients can also view the prices of specialist appointments. For example, patients seeking a 60-minute counseling session are charged $60 without insurance.
WHY IT MATTERS
Increasingly, providers are branching out of the traditional clinics and into more convenient locations. For example, in July telehealth, insurance navigation and primary care platform Eden Health teamed up with Convene, a firm that rents out venues for work spaces, to open an in-office clinic where Convene and Eden members can see live clinicians complementing their digital care.
In China Ping An Good Doctor piloted unstaffed clinics that employ artificial intelligence called “One-minute Clinics” in the Wuzhen Scenic Area outside of Shanghai, which connect patients with a clinician on Ping An Good Doctor’s in-house medical team.
This isn’t Walmart’s first foray into the healthcare space. In January, the state of Georgia tapped digital health engagement platform Sharecare and Walmart for a new initiative to improve the health of the employees on its State Health Benefit Plans.
It has also teamed up with engagedIN to launch a new healthy behavior app called Fresh Tri. The app, which has already been tested by thousands of Walmart associates, encourages users to set specific nutritional goals for themselves and then surfaces practical suggestions written by others users on how they can be achieved.
Beyond apps, Walmart has been looking into the intersection of blockchain and healthcare, according to a patent filed last year. In the patent, the retail giant is seeking to protect a method that allows a patient’s EHR to be obtained from a blockchain database even if they are unable to communicate. Doing so would require verification from two different keys: a public key stored in a wearable that would be scanned by emergency responders via RFID, and a private key that is obtained by scanning a biometric signature from the patient.