When you walk into Sam’s Club this spring, you may be able to toss an electronic medical records system into your cart along with that 64-pack of chicken breasts you just know you’ll use up. According to the New York Times, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., is partnering with Dell Computers and eClinicalWorks to offer a full package EMR system through their Sam’s Club branch, including hardware (either a desktop or tablet), software, installation, maintenance, and training. Perhaps most importantly, they say that their package will cost up to half the price of rival EMR systems. Sam’s Club is hoping to use their broad distribution network to provide electronic medical records to smaller physician practices that might normally be overlooked by health technology suppliers.
From the New York Times:
“We’re a high-volume, low-cost company,” said Marcus Osborne, senior director for health care business development at Wal-Mart. “And I would argue that mentality is sorely lacking in the health care industry.”
The Sam’s Club offering, to be made available this spring, will be under $25,000 for the first physician in a practice, and about $10,000 for each additional doctor. After the installation and training, continuing annual costs for maintenance and support will be $4,000 to $6,500 a year, the company estimates…
Traditional health technology suppliers, experts say, have tended to shun the small physician offices because it has been costly to sell to them. Taken together, they make up a large market, but they are scattered.
“If Wal-Mart is successful, this could be a game-changer,” observed Dr. David J. Brailer, former national coordinator for health information technology in the Bush administration.