Wal-Mart Offers Low Cost Digitilazed Patient Records to Physicians

Articles
March 11, 2009

Wal-Mart Offers Low Cost Digitilazed Patient Records to Physicians

Although many in the health care industry are skeptical of the idea of converting to digital health records, the Obama administration is on board, trying to adopt this technology of keeping records by offering $19 billion of incentives in the economic stimulus package. And now, major retailer, Wal-Mart is making strides in the market looking to offer this service for doctors with small practices. Teaming up with Dell for computer and eClinical Works, a private software company, the package deal from the Sam’s Club Division would provide hardware, software, installation, maintenance and training at a more affordable rate than competing health information technology suppliers. Targeted to be available in the spring, at under $25,000 for the first physician in the practice, and $10,000 for additional doctors in the practice, Wal-Mart feels that their low-cost package comes at a time when “mentality is sorely lacking in the health care industry.” While some feel the digitalization of health care records could revolutionize the system, cutting costs and improving care, Wal-Mart’s package competes heavily with the financial incentives in the administrative plan, which would costs doctors more than $40,000 a year. In addition, Wal-Mart points out that about 200,000 health care providers are among Sam’s Club’s 47 million members. Currently, only about 17% of the nation’s physicians are using this technology to keep patient records, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

Although many in the health care industry are skeptical of the idea of converting to digital health records, the Obama administration is on board, trying to adopt this technology of keeping records by offering $19 billion of incentives in the economic stimulus package. And now, major retailer, Wal-Mart is making strides in the market looking to offer this service for doctors with small practices.

Teaming up with Dell for computer and eClinical Works, a private software company, the package deal from the Sam’s Club Division would provide hardware, software, installation, maintenance and training at a more affordable rate than competing health information technology suppliers. Targeted to be available in the spring, at under $25,000 for the first physician in the practice, and $10,000 for additional doctors in the practice, Wal-Mart feels that their low-cost package comes at a time when “mentality is sorely lacking in the health care industry.”

While some are sure the digitalization of health care records could revolutionize the system, cutting costs and improving care, Wal-Mart’s package competes heavily with the financial incentives in the administrative plan, which would costs doctors more than $40,000 a year. In addition, Wal-Mart points out that about 200,000 health care providers are among Sam’s Club’s 47 million members.

Currently, only about 17% of the nation’s physicians are using this technology to keep patient records, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

The company’s test bed for the technology it will soon offer physicians has been its own health care clinics, staffed by third-party physicians and nurses. Started in September 2006, 30 such clinics are now in stores in eight states. The clinics use the technology Wal-Mart will offer to physicians.