Retail giant and household staple Walmart has proven time and again to be a relentless source of value. Having become one of the most well-known national brands over the last few decades, it has stayed true to its mottos of keeping prices relatively controlled, of serving its local communities, and fostering cutting-edge technology by launching its own online e-commerce platform. Now, Walmart is making incredible strides in the world of healthcare.
Yesterday, Walmart Health took a bold step forward by announcing its plans to open 16 new health care centers in Florida by 2023. This is in addition to nearly 32 centers that already exist across Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and Texas. Dr. David Carmouche, Senior Vice President of Omnichannel Care Offerings at the company, explained: “As the population in Florida continues to grow at more than double the rate of the rest of the United States, so does the need to increase access to quality health care […] With these 16 new Walmart Health centers across the state, even more Floridians will have easy access to a wide range of high-quality health services at convenient hours and easy to understand prices.”
And the value truly is immeasurable. Walmart Health has changed the game with regards to primary care access. The company has made it incredibly easy for patients to get a variety of healthcare services on demand, ranging from primary care services to behavioral health, dental health, and even imaging services. For many Americans around the country, this is an incredible boon. Amidst a growing physician shortage and the ever perpetual lack of access-to-care, this service yet provides another potential touchpoint for patients.
Furthermore, ease of access is not only about location, but also about convenience. For many people, taking the time out of their day for a healthcare visit or t0 go see a physician is not particularly convenient, and often entails taking time away from work, missing school, etc. However, Walmart Health’s entire business model is customer centric, given that it has decades of customer oriented retail experience. Walmart has brought healthcare into its stores, where millions of people spends hours a week already, shopping for groceries, clothes, or household items. Now, the company has made healthcare as simple as stopping by for a check-up on your way to pick-up the week’s groceries.
I’ve written about the company previously, specifically discussing how Walmart is rapidly expanding its presence in healthcare, and how it may soon become the largest primary care provider in the country. Both of these concepts continue to hold true, and will become especially more so in the coming decade. In a heartfelt post on professional website LinkedIn, Walmart’s Executive Vice President of Health & Wellness, Dr. Cheryl Pegus, shared a message regarding this new announcement: “Our Walmart Health centers are changing lives and disrupting health care in a way that’s opening doors for so many people. That’s why we’re excited to announce we’re opening more of them. We’ve seen the response in Florida. We also see the need. Our commitment to the communities we serve there is expanding, and I look forward to what our teams will do.”
Indeed, as Dr. Pegus explains, Walmart has disrupted healthcare delivery, and has truly reinvented the model of how and where care can be delivered. Undoubtedly, if the company continues to expand in the coming years in a patient centric and safety-oriented manner, many communities and patient populations stand to benefit tremendously.