Walmart Expands into Healthcare with New Walmart Health
As companies such as CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid continue to meet and exceed consumer needs by growing their product selection in pharmacies, expanding their storefronts to include Urgent Care facilities, Minute Clinic locations, and much more, big box retail stores are hopping on the expansion train as well.
Walmart opened its first pharmacy back in 1978, but never used this sector of business as their primary growth initiative, until now. [iv] Walmart is making efforts to dive deeper into the needs of their customer by expanding their traditional facility to now include “Walmart Health” at two locations: one in Dallas, Georgia and a follow up location in Calhoun, GA. Walmart’s main goal is to make healthcare more affordable and accessible to its customers and communities across the country. [i]
“The customer is at the heart of all we do, and it is the same at Walmart Health; we are focused on the needs of the patient and customer.”
Walmart’s new health center offers urgent care, labs, x-ray and diagnostics, counseling, dental, and optical and hearing services. [ii] As healthcare continues to expand and become more of a necessity and less of an advantage for big box retailers, big players like Walmart are being forced to reimagine what advantages their stores bring to their customers.
With diverse healthcare needs for varying demographics in their local communities, Walmart is listening to their customers’ needs by conveniently offering a wide range of services at an affordable price. From reviews so far, Walmart’s Health center in Dallas, GA is quite the success. Practitioners come into work each day with a full schedule of appointments covering a multitude of services. [i]
“We think we can make an impactful difference in affordability, convenience and, most importantly, accessibility for the Calhoun community,” said Sean Slovenski, senior VP and president of Walmart U.S. Health and Wellness. “We have a history of launching innovative products and programs that have transformed the industry and created significant healthcare savings for customers. Now, we’re focused on a solution to provide affordable integrated care that our customers want and deserve.” [ii]
Walmart Health prototype stores are very strategically placed in communities where researchers show there is a need for cheaper, more accessible and convenient healthcare options. For example, customers at the Calhoun Walmart Health can get a $30 medical checkup, or a $25 teeth cleaning, or even a session with a counselor for $1 a minute without having to have medical insurance. [iii] Walmart’s Vice President of Health and Wellness Transformation, Marcus Osborne, said that people who come into the clinics often have not seen a primary care physician in two or three years, or a dentist in five years. For some patients, it may be the first time they have ever seen a mental health counselor. [iv]
Here’s how the process goes: Walmart “care hosts” greet each new future patient that walks in and checks if the customer booked an appointment online or if they’re a walk in. After the patient fills out their information accordingly, the care host takes the customer to one of 12 care rooms in the 6,500 sq. ft. facility. [iii] After the appointment has finished, each patient is then steered towards the in-store pharmacy where they can pick up their prescription, or steered towards the exit to end the session and go about their day.
Walmart hasn’t released how many clinics they plan to build just yet, but with healthcare making up 15% of the country’s economy, expansion in this sector is one of its top growth initiatives. [iv] Battling against key players, Walmart realizes the opportunity it has in this industry and is making every effort to capitalize on this intense need from its customers.
As we continue to see big retailers like Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid, etc. expand their efforts into different business segments, only one thing crosses our mind: who will build these facilities, install electrical equipment, and manage the maintenance as these retailers continue to expand their physical locations?