Big retail companies like Walmart, Amazon, CVS, and Walgreens are investing more in telehealth. What can this mean for the future of the healthcare industry?
Did you ever stop to think that what happened in the food industry could happen in healthcare? There’s no question that the big boys are moving in, and companies like CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and Amazon have been keeping a close eye on healthcare trends for a while and want part of the action by introducing telemedicine services to their day-to-day operations.
The healthcare industry is no stranger to change or consolidation; in fact, hospital acquisitions of physician practices rose 128% between 2012 to 2018 (data from Avalere Health and the Physicians Advocacy Institute (PAI)). This consolidation and growth happen constantly, whether it’s hospital acquisitions or big healthcare companies acquiring smaller insurers to gain leverage and increase market share. So why wouldn’t big-box retailers want a piece of the pie and offer the one-stop-shop experience?
In September 2019, Walmart, known for their “Everyday Low Prices,” launched Walmart Health, a primary care clinic, at a store in Dallas, Georgia. The doctor-run clinic, the first of its kind for the big box retailer, offers services like X-rays, annual checkups, and dental exams. They have plans to expand to over 40 clinics by 2029. CVS and Walgreens have invested heavily in telehealth, to offer their customers virtual health care visits in addition to their in-store clinics and pharmacies. In 2018, CVS announced that virtual health visits would be available through their mobile app, in just another example of how medicine and trends are constantly changing.
Recently, Amazon announced that Amazon Care will be available to serve Washington-based companies. Amazon Care enables employers to provide access to high-quality medical care within 60 seconds for employees, including options for care around the clock through messaging or video. Times have changed, and the pandemic gave telemedicine a boost and made people realize that the use of technology is inevitable, and it will continue to mark its presence in everyday medicine. Health data collection and sharing, monitoring devices, and at-home testing is the next big wave, and people are looking at these areas to improve efficiency and limit exposure. So as we prepare for the next substantial change, remember that telehealth is here to stay, and the big retailers are looking to use their resources to take a bite out of healthcare!
In conclusion, healthcare will continue to evolve, and Vosita is the perfect solution for providers to continue to grow their personal connections with their patients. We need to keep our health local and personal and avoid big chains. I am a big believer in telemedicine. That is why I believe in Vosita and helping providers stay connected!