Large Retailers Walmart, AT&T Inching into Health Care
Retail giants such as Walmart, AT&T, and Best Buy are moving into the health care space by effectively transforming their best selling assets into health care tools.
Retail giants such as Walmart, AT&T, and Best Buy are moving into the health care space by effectively transforming some of their best selling assets into health care tools.
Walmart has most recently opened its second primary health care facility, called Walmart Health, located in Calhoun, Georgia. The center will be staffed with health care providers offering services from walk-in and clinical care to x-rays and dental services, mirroring a similar center it opened in September 2019, in Dallas, Georgia.1,3,4
Matt Parry, head of customer experience and strategy for Health and Wellness at Walmart, said that the company’s newest addition within health care is a matter of convenience for the consumer.1
“We have 150 million shoppers who are coming in [to stores]. This is a convenient opportunity for them to combine a trip to pick up groceries, get their health care, get some glasses, whatever. So, there is obviously a big ecosystem [at] play in terms of making customers’ lives easier and saving them money,” Parry said at a recent CES 2020 event in Las Vegas as reported by WARC.5
According to Simeon Gutman, analyst at Morgan Stanley, the retail giant’s momentum within health care is unlikely to stop. “From this starting point, we think expansion into stand-alone health clinics offering an array of services makes sense and should not be surprising,” said Gutman.2
Best Buy and Comcast are turning to senior living facilities to develop solutions for remote health care. Best Buy is forming “health care squads,” similar to its well-known Geek Squad model, which may potentially conduct house calls at the homes of senior patients who may have limited mobility.1
In order to monitor sleeping and eating habits, the mobile team places sensors throughout the patients’ homes. They can then use a medical device, known as GreatCall, to observe the data so that they can call the patient’s home to check on them.1
Best Buy began piloting its health care projects in the homes of 1 million seniors last year, according to its CEO, Corie Barry.1
Meanwhile, Comcast is concurrently creating a health care platform for patients’ TVs. The latest project is similar to its Quil system that launched in 2018, which is designed to help patients prepare for and recover from surgery, such as hip replacements.
The goal, Don Mathis, general manager of growth and strategic development at Comcast, said in an interview with STAT that the program’s goal “is to help people take better control of their health care.”
AT&T is delving into the market through the use of its wireless network to develop remote health care tools. The company started its work in health care about a decade ago, according to Advisory Board.1
The company is working to develop gurneys embedded with sensors that help EMTs and clinicians track patients. Another project involves collaborating with medical-bracelet company Zebra to create better forms of identification that also verifies a patient’s location.1
- Is ‘Big Retail’ the next big health care disruptor?. Advisory Board. February 7, 2020. https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2020/02/07/retail-disrupt. Accessed February 18, 2020.
- Brumley, James. Walmart Just Dragged Primary Care Into the Healthcare Cost Battle. The Motley Fool. Published February 4, 2020. https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/02/04/walmart-just-dragged-primary-care-into-the-healthc.aspx. Accessed February 18, 2020.
- Blank, Christine. Walmart Tests Health Clinics. September 4, 2019. https://www.drugtopics.com/walmart/walmart-tests-health-clinics. Accessed February 18, 2020.
- Nathan-Kazis, Josh. Walmart Could Disrupt Health Care the Same Way It Did Retail, Analyst Says. Published September 3, 2019. https://www.barrons.com/articles/walmart-stock-health-care-stand-alone-health-clinic-51567522182. Accessed February 18, 2020.
- Walmart makes ecosystem play in healthcare. WARC website. January 21, 2020. https://www.warc.com/newsandopinion/news/walmart-makes-ecosystem-play-in-healthcare/43139. Accessed February 18, 2020.