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Disrupting Healthcare: Amazon and Walmart Make Bold Moves

February 28, 2024
February 28, 2024

As healthcare continues to evolve at breakneck speed, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for leaders. HealthStream's annual white paper, authored by industry expert Robin Rose, MHA, identifies the top ten trends poised to reshape the landscape in the coming year. This blog series delves into each trend.

Disrupting Healthcare: Amazon and Walmart Make Bold Moves

The healthcare landscape is experiencing significant changes, with major players like Amazon and Walmart making strategic moves to disrupt the industry. Both companies are leveraging their vast resources and innovative technologies to offer a range of healthcare services, challenging traditional providers, and reshaping the future of healthcare delivery.

Amazon's Healthcare Ambitions

Since mid-2023, Amazon has made several strategic moves, demonstrating its commitment to healthcare dominance (Newitt, 2023):

  • Enhanced Pharmacy Services: Amazon Pharmacy now offers automatic coupons on essential diabetes medications, showcasing its commitment to affordability, further increasing its appeal to patients with chronic conditions.
  • Senior Care Focus: Partnering with CVS Health, Amazon is now providing healthcare services specifically tailored for seniors with their respective lines of healthcare clinics designed for Medicare patients
  • Expanding One Medical: With new locations opening, One Medical strengthens Amazon's primary care presence.
  • Global Telehealth Services: The partnership with Maven Clinic expands Amazon's virtual care reach to 50 countries to provide women's healthcare services for the company's employees in 50 countries outside of the U.S. and Canada.
  • Nationwide Telehealth Launch: Amazon Clinic's nationwide availability signals a major step towards accessible virtual care.
  • Investing in Genomics: Amazon is actively building its healthcare team, adding a genomics account executive, indicating potential future ventures in this rapidly evolving field.
  • Predictive AI Advocacy: Together with Google, Amazon is pushing back against regulations aiming to control AI in healthcare, arguing for innovation and consumer benefits.

Walmart's Growing Footprint

  • Community Health Centers: Walmart Health's expansion to 25 centers across four states showcases its commitment to affordable, accessible healthcare (Bailey, 2023).
  • Full-Service Care: From primary care to dental and behavioral health, Walmart Health offers a wide range of services under one roof, staffed by qualified professionals.
  • Chronic Care Management: Recognizing the growing need for chronic disease management, Walmart Health is expanding its services to support patients with ongoing health conditions.
  • New States and Increased Presence: With plans to open 28 new centers in 2024, Walmart Health will significantly increase its footprint, reaching new states and expanding its presence in existing markets (“Walmart, 2023).
  • Telehealth Services: Walmart's acquisition of telehealth provider MeMD and its rebranding as Walmart Virtual Health Care allows patients to access medical and behavioral healthcare services virtually (“Walmart,” 2021).
  • Medicare Insurance: Walmart Insurance Services highlights the company's diversification within the healthcare market.

What Does This Mean for the Future?

Amazon and Walmart's aggressive moves are reshaping the healthcare landscape. Their focus on affordability, accessibility, and technology positions them as major players in the industry. As their offerings and reach continue to expand, we can expect them to further disrupt traditional healthcare models. This presents both challenges and opportunities for existing healthcare providers, who will need to adapt and innovate to compete in this evolving environment.

While increased access to affordable care is a positive development, smaller providers may struggle to compete, potentially reducing diversity and choice for patients. Additionally, concerns remain regarding data privacy and potential conflicts of interest as these retail giants gain further influence in the healthcare sector. It remains to be seen how their presence will reshape the industry in the long term, but one thing is certain: The future of healthcare is no longer solely in the hands of traditional providers.

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Bailey, V. “How Walmart Became a Major Player in the Healthcare Industry.” RevCycle Intelligence, March 14, 2023. Retrieved from: https://revcycleintelligence.com/features/how-walmart-became-a-major-player-in-the-healthcare-industry Newitt, P. “Amazon further disrupts healthcare: 8 moves to know.” Becker’s ASC Review, August 18, 2023. Retrieved from: https://www.beckersasc.com/asc-transactions-and-valuation-issues/amazon-further-disrupts-healthcare-8-moves-to-know.html#:~:text=Amazon%20partnered%20with%20Maven%20Clinic,all%20in%20on%20virtual%20care

“Walmart Health To Acquire Telehealth Provider MeMD.” News Release. Walmart, Inc. May 6, 2021. Retrieved from: https://corporate.walmart.com/news/2021/05/06/walmart-health-to-acquire-telehealth-provider-memd

“Walmart Health Nearly Doubles in Size With Launch Into Two New States in 2024.” News Release. Walmart, Inc. March 2, 2023. Retrieved from: https://corporate.walmart.com/news/2023/03/02/walmart-health-nearly-doubles-in-size-with-launch-into-two-new-states-in-2024