Growth plans set on anniversary of format's debut
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart marked the one-year anniversary of the opening of its first Walmart Health outlet by vowing to expand the concept.
“Our experience this year has made two things clear: Walmart Health is having a real impact on increasing access to care in our communities, and there are more neighbors who need our help,” Walmart U.S. Health & Wellness senior vice president and chief operating officer Lori Flees wrote in a blog post Thursday. “The past few months in particular have exposed the vulnerabilities of our healthcare system and left many without access to adequate health resources. We know our customers need us now more than ever, which is why we’re announcing an expansion of Walmart Health.”
Flees noted that the company currently has six Walmart Health locations — five in Georgia, including one that opened in Cartersville yesterday, and one in Arkansas.
“We plan to open seven more locations in Georgia by end of the fiscal year and two in the Chicago area this fall,” she said. “We’re also planning to open seven Walmart Health locations in the Jacksonville market in 2021, with at least one opening in early 2021, and we’re beginning conversations in the Orlando and Tampa markets. Our new health centers will be in communities in need of affordable, accessible preventive care, which we will help deliver through Walmart Health.”
To facilitate the rollout of the concept, Walmart is partnering with BLOX, a manufacturer of medical modules. The arrangement will allow the retailer to standardize the Walmart Health departments, making their construction faster and more efficient.
“This innovative collaboration allows us to tailor the Walmart Health design to meet the unique needs of the communities we serve, while also providing the necessary infrastructure to efficiently scale the model,” Flees said, noting that the Walmart Health outlets in Newnan and Cartersville were both built with BLOX.
“Each new location will build on the successful prototype we launched last year, as we continue to learn and work to deliver the integrated quality care our customers want and deserve through Walmart Health,” Flees wrote. “We’ve spent the past year refining our model and have learned a lot along the way:
- Patients and clinicians alike approve of the Walmart Health model. Walmart Health is generating strong patient satisfaction for the price, quality and convenience of care we offer. Meanwhile, our clinicians report satisfaction with the integrated care model and the ability to address the diverse health needs of their communities.
- There’s a clear need for convenient, quality, affordable healthcare. We continue to see an increase in visits, with more than 50 percent booked by returning patients. And, 96 percent of patients report that they ‘felt cared for’ and had their health needs met during their visits to Walmart Health.
- The pricing and convenience of Walmart Health is making a difference. Walmart Health has low, transparent pricing that makes receiving care affordable, regardless of insurance status. Customers are also responding favorably to the convenience of Walmart Health, which provides one central location for primary and urgent care, labs, x-ray and diagnostics, counseling, dental, optical and hearing services with hours in the evening and on weekends. We regularly have customers tell us they had ‘no idea healthcare could be so affordable,’ and they really like the convenience of ‘getting all my care in one visit, so I only have to miss work one time.’
- Patients need access to a full range of healthcare services. Half of our patient visit volume is for primary care, on average, while the other half is for specialty care such as optometry, dental and behavioral health needs.
- We recognize the importance of addressing the full spectrum of healthcare needs to increase overall well-being.
- Primary care visits are starting to transition to chronic care management, as patients embrace preventive care. Our longest-standing Walmart Health locations are seeing the largest shifts towards chronic care management and continuity of care, as the patient population responds to the quality and convenient care offered at Walmart Health. Our goal is to help patients proactively manage their health through preventive care, and we’re pleased with the response so far.”