Walmart in HC: the Stats

Posted on August 8, 2013


Numbers carry a certain weight that words cannot. Walmart received many mentions at the ASHE Annual Conference two weeks ago in Atlanta. None of those passing references were nearly as powerful as a few statistics on Walmart in one of the sessions I attended, and how Walmart plans to change the face of healthcare.

Two years ago came news of Walmart’s interest in the healthcare market.  Earlier this year, we heard of Walmart’s ambitions.  Since then, some thought leaders have quantified where Walmart could be headed.

The stats:

  • Walmart gets 130,000,000 visitors each week
  • Walmart receives 1,700,000 shoppers each week
  • Walmart has already established itself as a one-stop location for eye care and tangential health needs
  • Walmart has 150 clinics now; by the end of 2014 (18 months), it hopes for 2000

Hospitals curious about retail healthcare are about to go to school.

Walmart is not attempting to create a trend; it is simply playing off the momentum of care moving away from hospitals and out into the community.  And the strength of the Walmart retail machine has been discussed. One might say ‘the wind is at their back’ on this one. 

Healthcare systems are getting bigger to leverage size for purchasing, insurance, and prescriptions, to name a few.  However, most are still trying to wrap their arms around their own sets of clinical data to apply for operational efficiencies and cost savings throughout their systems.  How can hospitals know their patients better and improve care?

Walmart can probably answer that question.  They have done it in retail, and they will soon amass a healthcare database on patients likely unrivaled in the industry.  Where that will lead, who knows?  What is clear now is that whatever Walmart does from here on out will be big, and create a significant wake for those following behind.