Over the past year, we’ve seen big tech giants and retailers entering into the healthcare market and Walmart is just the latest example. As one of America’s largest retailers, Walmart recently acquired a technology platform called CareZone, which offers a worry-free way for consumers to organize health information and access vital health services, in an effort to enhance its digital health and wellness capabilities.
I recently spoke with Omri Shor, co-founder and CEO at Medisafe, a leading digital therapeutics company providing medication management solutions for patients across the healthcare continuum, to learn about the impact of Walmart’s recent acquisition on the digital health and pharmaceutical space, as well as the broader role of digital health in the future of care and what this could mean for healthcare consumers moving forward.
Q: How will Walmart’s recent acquisition of CareZone impact the healthcare industry?
Consumers are engaging and adapting with digital health more than ever and incorporating it into their daily routines. With Walmart, you’re taking a retail giant with pharmacy capabilities and licenses across all 50 states and adding a digital health component. It’s a great model for Walmart and this acquisition solidly moves them into the digital health space.
Walmart will now gain vast amounts of healthcare consumer data and, coupled with its vast network of brick and mortar stores, the addition of CareZone may even put it one step ahead of Amazon. What will be key to watch for is Walmart’s ability to support those patients managing chronic conditions who require dedicated programs to affect lasting behavior change in addition to end-to-end support which requires coordination across the healthcare ecosystem.
Q: What would it take for Walmart to successfully move into this industry with this acquisition of CareZone?
Adding CareZone’s technology platform to Walmart’s existing digital capabilities and physical reach creates a unique opportunity to redefine what the future of digital health and wellness can look like across the board. Now more than ever, patients require digital hand-holding to navigate multiple treatments. That being said, digital health tools have the ability to empower patients and improve their outcomes through seamlessly integrated technology.
For Walmart to have a successful entrance into the digital health space, a deep understanding of the needs of patients is critical. While the company has the retail and pharmacy aspect handled, true success will require connection across many other hubs within the broader healthcare ecosystem.
Whether that be connecting payers with providers or providing consumers with a mobile app for medication adherence, having the capacity to connect across the continuum is something Walmart should be thinking about building into their market strategy. Once the ecosystem piece comes full circle, Walmart will have the power to integrate their business model into the everyday lives of American consumers, which will be imperative to support patients along their journey.