Wal-Mart To Offer Lower-Cost Electronic Health Record System

TOPIC ALERT:

This spring, Wal-Mart will partner its Sam's Club division with Dell and eClinicalWorks to begin offering low-cost electronic health record systems to physicians, the New York Times reports.

Under the initiative, Dell will provide health care providers with the option for a desktop or tablet personal computer, while eClinicalWorks will contribute the EHR and practice management software that would be used for Internet-based patient billing and registration.

Wal-Mart will use its "buying power" to acquire discounts for both the software and hardware, the Times reports.

The initial cost to set up the EHR system will be less than $25,000 for the first physician and about $10,000 for each additional physician in a practice. The annual management and support will cost about $4,000 to $6,500 after installation and training, according to Sam's Club estimates.

Implications for Adoption

Wal-Mart officials said the EHR initiative would make it more accessible and cost-efficient for physicians to adopt health care IT because the company could charge as much as 50% less than other health IT vendors.

Marcus Osborne, senior director for health care business development at Wal-Mart, said, "We're a high-volume, low-cost company," adding, "And I would argue that mentality is sorely lacking in the health care industry."

David Brailer, the former national coordinator for health IT under former President George W. Bush, said, "If Wal-Mart is successful, this could be a game changer" (Lohr, New York Times, 3/11).

A Merlin
There's something just wrong about this. My medical records in a discount system? Eh, no thanks.

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