Walmart healthcare supercenters’ impact on healthcare marketing
Hospital marketing threat from Walmart healthcare supercenters’
Walmart is ramping up efforts, even more so, to steal market share from traditional hospital providers. In this article that appeared in MedCity News – Walmart divulges plans for ‘healthcare supercenters – the company states “it’s looking beyond traditional retail clinics as it seeks to create “supercenters” with comprehensive healthcare services. For traditional healthcare providers and their healthcare marketing teams, the impact of this is significant (particularly if you’re located near one of their healthcare supercenters).
So far, Walmart has opened up four “one-stop” shop clinics, with primary care, urgent care, diagnostics, x-rays, behavioral health and dental care. Another important differentiator for Walmart, and its healthcare customers, is that a primary care appointment costs $40. For children, $20. These outlays for visits are less than many co-pays at traditional healthcare providers.
Dissatisfaction with the current healthcare system
Part of the impetus for rolling out their healthcare services were the surveys conducted among thousands of customers – most of whom said they didn’t feel cared for in the current healthcare system. According to Matt Parry, senior director of strategy and customer experience, customers “felt processed, like they were a number.” Reiterating the commitment to serious healthcare, Walmart President of Health and Wellness Sean Slovenski stated “we’re in healthcare. We’re not in retail healthcare. We’re recruiting physicians in all of these areas and bringing them in.”
For patients who need specialty services, Walmart currently makes referrals out to other providers in the community. Case in point, referring complex procedures like back surgery to Cleveland Clinic. Further down the line, Slovenski indicated the company might be open to offering more in the future. “Eventually, we may offer some of those true specialty type services,” he said. “We’re making sure we get these basic services and the model right the first couple of years, and then we’ll add onto that.”
Implications for traditional hospital marketing teams
At the end of the day, a strong brand is the ultimate competitive advantage for any business. Same with healthcare, as the idea knows no boundaries. It will be fascinating to watch how Walmart’s future as a healthcare supercenter provider plays out.
Since 1999, Trajectory has guided the trajectory of brands across the healthcare and wellness continuum. We straddle the space between brand consultancy and creative agency – to help our client’s brands rise above the noise to help their organizations, and their customers, thrive. Reach out if you’re interested in a conversation.