In an effort to further its foothold in the healthcare space, Walmart announced that it has acquired digital medication management company CareZone’s tech platform, patents and “key intellectual property.”
While CareZone will remain a separate, unrelated company, some of its employees on the product and tech team will be joining Walmart in order to help integrate the system. The platform caters to individuals with multiple medications. Patients or family members scan pill bottles and, in turn, the platform can create a list of the medications and share with medical teams. The tool also has medication reminders.
The company also has a pharmacy platform called CareFlow; however, CNBC which broke the news, reports that this was not included in the deal.
CareZone was founded in 2012 and was designed to help users keep track of their medications and make managing chronic conditions simpler. It also has quite a bit of funding behind it. In 2018 it scored $50 million in a Series D round led by NEA, with participation from McKesson Ventures and Marc Benioff. Its total funding amount is approximately $168 million, according to Crunchbase.
WHY IT MATTERS
As digital health merges into mainstream health, we’ve seen a rise in interest from both retail and tech giants looking to enter the space. Walmart in particular has made moves to address healthcare affordability, and this M&A appears to be centered on that same goal.
“Acquiring the technology platform of CareZone is another example of our continued commitment to helping lower the cost of healthcare for our 160 million customers who shop Walmart each week, while offering convenient options across multiple channels to help them manage their health and wellness,” Lori Flees, SVP of health and wellness for Sam’s Club, and Sean Slovenski, SVP of health and wellness for Walmart U.S, wrote in a blog post announcing the deal.
THE LARGER TREND
Walmart has been interested in the healthcare space for some time. Last summer the retail giant rolled out Walmart Health platform, which allows users to book appointments at its in-person clinics online. Through the online platform, patients can select various types of appointments, including medical, optometry, audiology, behavioral, dental and immunizations.
It has also been looking into its employer health space. In January Walmart and Doctor on Demand went live with an expanded telehealth benefit program that allows retail associates to book video visits for as low as $4, and gives them a personal online primary care doctor. A year ago it joined forces with engagedIN to launch a new healthy behavior app called Fresh Tri, which encourages users to set specific nutritional goals for themselves, and then surfaces practical suggestions written by other users on how they can be achieved.