The pandemic elucidated the importance of accessibility of healthcare. While it caused the healthcare industry to bring in innovations rapidly, retailers also started launching healthcare programmes pertaining to primary care, nutrition etc. The thought behind these clinics is that individuals can visit clinics while shopping for grocery. In a single trip, people can access healthcare and get their checkup done. Post-pandemic, people are looking for healthcare services that are costless, while also getting instant and effective treatments. To meet these needs, retailers have come forward to fill the gap that traditional healthcare currently could not fulfil.
Though the concept is new, several retail companies such as Albertson’s Companies, Walgreens, H-E-B, and Walmart, have become retailer-cum-healthcare providers. We will talk about the five retailers that are offering healthcare services in different ways.
Walmart had launched Walmart Health on five different locations earlier this year. Walmart Health offers primary care, dental services, and behavioural health. Moreover, Walmart Health aims to offer urgent care, optical and hearing services, and X-ray and diagnostic. Experts predict that retail healthcare is a revolutionary concept and have very high hopes from this industry. Because the idea of personalised healthcare is increasing, retail healthcare providers like Walmart Health will offer better and personalised services to the patients. This means that the trend of visiting retail healthcare stores will increase gradually. Moreover, tailored solutions will also be available for individuals living in the rural areas as well. Walmart, for instance, will top the rural area healthcare providence by providing it in more than 5000 areas, experts predict.
With food insecurity being one of the major concerns in today’s world, Heinen’s is offering a unique in-store nutrition programme. The supermarket company has launched on-site clinics, named as ‘Personalised Nutrition Centre’, from where people can get a check-up and a diet-plan tailored according to their personal needs. The nutrition centre offers a dietary counselling where individuals will be told to eat what is best for their health. Customers are now trusting Heinen’s, and it gets almost 30 to 40 patients per week. The firm is promoting Food as Medicine concept, which highlights the importance of correct diet and enough nutrition.
Retail behemoth and soon-to-be the healthcare giant launched its virtual as well as in-person healthcare services in 2019 with the name of Amazon Care. The popularity of Amazon Care is increasing as patients are looking for more convenient ways of getting healthcare. The hybrid approach towards healthcare is the reason why most people are reaching out to Amazon Care for healthcare. Earlier in February, Amazon had reported that they will launch in-person healthcare centres in 20 cities to expand their network and offer healthcare services.
H-E-B, one of the top Texas-based retailers, has launched H-E-B Wellness Primary Care clinics. The clinics offer basic healthcare to everyone with dietary counselling at the core of their agenda. The clinic has employed physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals who will help patients in getting basic healthcare. H-E-B claims to be very affordable and patients need not worry about surprising medical bills. While H-E-B calls the clinic basic, it can help people will chronic conditions by connecting them with dieticians. Pharmacists are also available at the site. The grocer wishes to expand their network to help patients with different needs.
Loblaw, a Canada-based drug store, offers full-service pharmacies while also serving people with prescriptions, vaccination, minor-ailment diagnoses, and nutrition consultations. Loblaw also has virtual and in-person clinics from where people can get diagnoses and therapies. The retailer is constantly growing their health area. Recently, Loblaw acquired Lifemark Health Group and plans to become the leading healthcare provider in the country. This acquisition will allow the retailer to offer outpatient massages, physiotherapies, mental health treatments, and ancillary rehabilitation.
Though experts see this transformation as a revolutionary one, they also elucidate the issues that can arouse once the networks are expanded. One of the key issues is data sharing and interoperability: Amazon and Walmart are focused on safe data sharing. Experts believe they will have to rely on and invest in cloud solutions.