Wal-Mart plans to jump into EMR market

By Molly Merrill
11:32 AM

According to the New York Times, Wal-Mart plans to market electronic medical records to small physician practices.

By partnering its Sam's Club division with Dell and eClinicalWorks, the company will offer EMRs for less than $25,000 for the first physician in a practice and $10,000 for each additional doctor, the newspaper reported.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer has shown itself to be a broad supporter of healthcare information technology over the last few years. In April 2007 Wal-Mart officials said it would partner with the University of Arkansas and Blue Cross Blue Shield to conduct research on how to advance healthcare IT in the United States.

The company said it would pledge $1 million over five years to fund a new Center for Innovation in Health Care Logistics at the University of Arkansas. Carolyn Walton, vice president of the information systems division for Wal-Mart, said the intent was to create broad interest in the speedy adoption of best practices.

In September 2008 Wal-Mart officials said the company would provide associates and their families with access to electronic health records powered by Dossia. President and CEO Lee Scott said the company "will provide electronic health records to United States associates and their family members - including retirees - by the end of 2010."

In February 2008, Wal-Mart opened co-branded clinics that operate on a common electronic medical records platform from Westborough, Mass.-based eClinicalWorks.

Last month, Wal-Mart said it would provide physicians with access to 350 prescriptions on its $4 generic drug program using an Epocrates clinical decision support product online or via a mobile device.

"Information technology has the power to bring greater efficiency and better quality to healthcare," officials said. "When American healthcare fully harnesses information technology, we see the potential for fewer medical errors and fewer dollars wasted."

 Image by strangelv obtained under Creative Commons license.

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