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Walmart is placing bets on co-located outpatient services. Should you?

January 30, 2020

    Walmart is applying its comprehensive retail strategy to health care services, and is now piloting a one-stop-shop clinic offering primary care, dental, optical, and public health services, all in one convenient location. 

    Does that mean you should co-locate multiple services, as well? Maybe—but not necessarily.

    5 questions patients ask when choosing a new primary care clinic

    Walmart wants its customers to 'save more, live better'—and healthier

    In September 2019, Walmart opened a dedicated comprehensive primary care clinic in Dallas, Georgia. Although Walmart has more than 1,000 Care Clinics throughout the country, those clinics are housed within its stores and offer limited services. In contrast, the new "Walmart Health" center is a separate facility that is attached to the Dallas store, but has its own entrance for patients. The clinic offers the full spectrum of health care services, including primary care, dental, optometry, hearing, behavioral health, imaging, and lab services, which has the potential to make it even more successful than Walmart's Care Clinics. Walmart now wants to add a more extensive health care department to its list of products, so it can continue being the go-to for even more services.

    While it's still too early to know how successful Walmart’s new one-stop shop will be, we've compiled our top insights on co-location strategy to help you determine if you should replicate Walmart’s model.

    1. Co-location alone is not enough to generate extra value.

    Systems often co-locate services to generate revenue through one of three means: improved payer relations, increased patient loyalty, or expanded capacity. However, a number of challenges arise that can thwart these three goals, such as quality breakdowns, loyalty bottlenecks, and capacity stagnation. To gain additional value from co-located services, implement service integration tactics, such as collaborative care plans, low-cost bundles, and cross-trained staff.

    Learn about these service integration strategies in Guide to Profitable Co-Location

    2. Most primary care consumers aren't looking to have all their care needs met in one place…

    In our 2019 Primary Care Consumer Choice Survey, respondents said on-site lab and X-rays were a top priority when choosing a new primary care clinic. Other health care services were far less important:

    1. On-site optometry or ophthalmology services ranked 29th out of 40 attributes;

    2. Having a registered dietician on-site ranked 35th out of 40 attributes; and

    3. An on-site dentist ranked 39th out of 40 attributes.

    Although we don't know why consumers ranked co-located services so low, the takeaway is clear: If your goal is to attract new patients, there are more important investments than co-location.

    Learn more in 2019 Updates in Primary Care Consumer Preferences

    3. …But patients needing multidisciplinary care value one-stop shops.

    For certain patient populations who typically require multidisciplinary services, the ease and accessibility of co-located care is an important factor. One example is the cancer patient population; in our 2019 Cancer Patient Experience Survey, more than 1200 respondents ranked "all of my care taking place in one building" as the second most valuable service offered by a cancer program.

    Anecdotally, we've seen a similar trend with other multidisciplinary clinics: digestive health clinics, for example, or diabetes clinics, which bring different specialists to the patient instead of vice versa, are often big value-adds for patients.

    Learn more in What matters most to cancer patients

    5 questions patients ask when choosing a new primary care clinic

    To better understand today’s primary care consumers, we asked 1,500 consumers across the U.S. what clinic attributes are most important to them when choosing a new primary care clinic.

    From who they’ll see to how they’ll be treated, explore their preferences in this briefing, and learn how they can help shape your primary care strategy.

    Download Now


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