The Week in Disruption goes beyond the headlines to uncover the significance of emerging trends in healthcare and beyond.
Walmart rethinks the healthcare experience
Much of the buzz around Walmart’s two new standalone clinics in Georgia—with a third on the way later this year—have focused on the low costs: $30 medical check-ups, $25 teeth cleanings and $1-a-minute counselor visits.
But the retail giant is also intent on providing customers with a seamless, friendly experience, Bloomberg reports. Patients can book appointments the same day at WalmartHealth.com (which has also begun taking appointments for Walmart’s more traditional, non-acute focused Care Clinics in Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas). Upon arrival, Walmart “care hosts” guide patients to their rooms and direct them to the in-store pharmacy following their visit, where they can buy produce while they wait or even attend exercise sessions in a community room.
For hospitals and health systems, Walmart’s focus on low costs, an excellent experience and a user-friendly platform—and its ability to potentially scale its offerings nationwide—represent an existential threat. Walmart is poised to disrupt primary care in much the same way it once transformed the retail industry.
Mayo’s data-driven vision
For health systems looking to compete with Walmart, Amazon, CVS Health and other new entrants, possessing the financial, intellectual and institutional resources needed to transform how they provide care or form new partnerships with the same intent is essential.
Earlier this year, Mayo Clinic announced plans to create a genomic sequencing library with data from 100,000 patients, as the system ramps up efforts to offer genetic testing services. The Clinic followed up recently by announcing plans to create a new Clinical Data Analytics Platform that will allow third parties to access and analyze data while keeping each organization’s data secure on their own site. Mayo’s ambitious new initiatives—fueled by its patient base and analytics capacity—illustrates how scale and data capabilities will fuel health system efforts to keep up with well-resourced newcomers in the years to come.
A tale of two papers
The long-struggling newspaper industry is having a divergent moment. Venerable newspaper chain McClatchy, which currently publishes 30 daily newspapers in Miami, Sacramento and other markets, filed for bankruptcy recently amid declining revenue and mounting pension obligations. Tribune Publishing, with a roster that includes the likes of the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News and the Baltimore Sun, have made significant cuts in executive leadership at each publication, while offering massive voluntary buyouts in their newsrooms.
But while mid-sized and even major market publications show no signs of halting a steady, two-decade-old decline, a handful of national newspapers continue to thrive, spurred on by growth in digital subscriptions. The New York Times recently reported $800 million in annual digital revenue in 2019, more than half of which came from digital news subscriptions. In fact, out of the paper’s 5.2 million subscribers, 3.5 million are digital-only, with digital subscriptions growing by 30 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. The success of the Times, and the continued struggles of the broader industry, illustrate the difficulty that smaller, less-resourced legacy companies often face while transitioning to a new business model.
Innovation at a glance
- Providers are increasingly offering more inexpensive, rapid influenza diagnostic tests instead of traditional culture-based tests, as competition from CVS, Walgreens, and other retailers mounts
- Amazon’s new virtual medical clinic concept is now live for its Seattle-based workforce
- Oak Street Health is expanding its senior-based primary care networks to Memphis and Dallas, while adding several new centers in its existing markets
- Twenty-eight percent of physicians now offer their patients virtual visits, up from 14 percent in 2016, according to a new survey from the American Medical Association