As we roll into 2015, not only are individuals contending with the rising costs of healthcare, but large retailers are as well. In an effort to guide consumers towards healthier lifestyles and contain healthcare costs, retail giants Target and Walmart are looking to grow telemedicine mobile technology.
These retailers are looking to provide both their consumers and employees with a deeper level of services, which includes a basic level of chronic disease management. According to Ben Wanaker, the Walmart Care Clinic business leader, while the Care Clinic is consumer-focused retail clinic, it is also the employees’ on-site clinic. All Walmart employees have healthcare needs and have high-deductible healthcare plans. Like everyone else, Walmart is also struggling with the rising costs of healthcare.
Both Target and Walmart are currently exploring the technological tools at their disposal, such as telemedicine, to enhance their efforts toward contending with high healthcare costs. Although Wanamaker did say that they were working on a strategy for digital telehealth, he did not provide further details.
It is expected that retail health clinics will continue to evolve, with the help of telemedicine, in order to provide more affordable healthcare options for employees and consumers everywhere. For some, such as Target, this evolution is coming by way of creating new partnerships with affordable healthcare options.
Target has recently partnered with Kaiser Permanente, as well as a partnership with Mscrips, to provide more affordable telemedicine, prescription and healthcare options. As Target moves into the digital healthcare age, their goals include building a platform where telemedicine can be virtually interconnected with other aspects of healthcare to create more affordable healthcare options for consumers and employees.
Unfortunately, despite the enormous potential of telemedicine and tele-healthcare, there are still some privacy issues to be worked out. It is apparent that the retail sector is seeing and working toward the opportunity that new digital healthcare options are offering, and it is definitely a starting point for curbing the rising costs of healthcare.