Thoughts on Walmart, eCW and Dell EHR – eCW and Dell’s Perspective

I previously posted a summary of the Walmart EHR package with eCW and Dell.  Then, I followed it up with a doctor’s persctive on Walmart EHR.  At the end, I promised to follow up with a post on the Walmart EHR deal from Walmart, eCW and Dell’s perspective.

I think this was a great move by eCW, Dell and Walmart.  Honestly, what do they lose by trying this out?

Let’s not go overboard here.  I don’t see this offering completely changing the landscape of EHR.  Walmart has done that in a lot of areas, but EHR is not going to be one of them.

However, Walmart could be a good lead generator for eCW and Dell.  Dell certainly has reached a point where they have a strong brand established and scale is their friend.  They want to distribute their product through as many low cost channels as possible.  If this is successful, Dell tablets (a new offering for Dell – second generation just came out for those keeping track) will be in a lot more doctors’ offices.  If it fails, then Dell still will have gotten some PR in front of doctors saying that Dell offers tablets for doctors.  Don’t believe this is happening?  Do a quick search on google news and see all the stories about Walmart EHR.  This blog post is another example of the free PR Dell is getting from this deal.

eCW isn’t quite the brand that Dell has become, but they do have a substantial install base.  Scale really is their friend.  The more EHR software they can sale, the better for them as a company.  EHR sales is a numbers game and the more doctors they have viewing their product the more doctors they’ll have buying it.  Plus, if someone is thinking about EHR at Walmart, then that’s a high quality lead.  The leads won’t be as high quality as say advertising on EMR and HIPAA (excuse the plug), but a lead’s a lead.

Walmart really seems to have nothing to lose in this.  I guess they’re giving up floor space for the product.  I wonder what this will look like at Sam’s Club.  If anyone sees it, take a picture and send it to me so I can post it.  I’m not sure Walmart’s internal projections, but they threw out the number of 200k health care providers are members of Sam’s Club.  I’m a member of Sam’s Club as well, but I can’t remember the last time I was there.  My wife usually takes care of it.  I’m pretty sure many of these doctors are the same as me.

I do think this is a really interesting news item for Walmart.  Walmart has been doing a ton of things in regards to health care lately and so offering an EHR didn’t suprise me that much.  We have Walmart Clinics.  Free or cheap Walmart drugs.  Now we have a Walmart EHR.  Once they offer the Walmart PHR to compete with Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault, then we can really start to wonder if Walmart just has so much money they don’t know what to do with it.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

6 Comments

  • Interesting blog. This is the only blog on EMR that I’ve seen where commenters actually participate.

    Do you have a bio posted someplace. I assume you are a techie in the healthcare field…. or have a very strange hobby.

    I’m an angel investor based in the Boston area. My wife is a NP in cardiology at one of the major Boston hospitals so I have to listen to a rant about EMR about once a week.

    I hope you generate enough advertising revenue with this blog to allow you to take your wife on a nice vacation at least once a year.

    Mike Walsh

    ps. I found you via twitter via a TwitterBeep search I have set up for “eClincalWorks” and “eCW.”

  • Hi Mike,
    I’m glad that you find my blog interesting. I have been lucky to have provoked some conversation about EHR. It’s only taken me 3 years to finally reach that point.

    I don’t have much of a bio, but I’ve been thinking about posting one for this blog and just haven’t gotten around to it. You can see my mostly complete LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/2/315/b7b Although, it doesn’t include some of the details on my side consulting I’ve done for doctor’s offices.

    I am a techie currently working in the healthcare field, but I relatively recently finished my Masters degree in IS. So, I’m considering various options now. We’ll see if this website turns into a hobby based on my career choice or possibly becomes the core of what I do.

    I love the Boston area and was really close to moving there about a year ago to do my own startup company. Much better startup environment than Las Vegas, although I am pretty well connected here so I’m also considering starting my own business here too.

    Have you considered writing down your wife’s rants and posting them to a blog? I’m sure they’d do well. I wouldn’t mind the competition. Have you invested in EMR or healthcare as an angel? I believe a number of EMR companies are going to become great investments with nice exits.

    The advertising revenue has been doing quite well thank you. Better than I would have ever expected when I started the blog. I started it as a way to document my journey to become an expert on EMR. Then, it turned into date money. Now, it’s far exceeded what I thought would have been possible for an EMR focused website.

    Isn’t Twitter an amazing tool? I’m glad you found me and I hope you’ll come back and participate in the conversation.

    P.S. Whenever I post a long comment like this, I feel like I should have just written a blog post. Oh well, now you learned a little more about me.

  • It is interesting to see where Walmart is going with their “healthcare business” – cheap drugs, doc-in-a-box clinics, selling EHRs, maybe a PHR. Does not appear cohesive, just opportunistic.

    I just find it a bit of a dichotomy though – considering Walmart is the poster child for corps who don’t offer heath insurance to most of their employees. With 300,000+ employees, they are a big contributor to the unisured ranks in the US.

    Sort of like, we are for inexpensive healthcare (as a vendor) as long as we aren’t required to actually try and help (as an employer).

    Disclaimer: I nor any relatives work at Walmart. Just an observation from a former hospital system CIO in a rural area who watched Walmart employees flood the ER because they had no insurance. The hospital footed the bill not Walmart.

  • This package makes sense to me if it includes the Seagate hardware Full Disk Encryption Drive to protect privacy under HIPPA — and The Wave Embassy Software that comes with the Dell Machines and Seagate drives to manage the encryption and keys when multiple machines are managed by the system. Proper Network Access Control also needs to be considered to prevent intrusion from unauthorized users onto the network.

  • Shawn R,
    I had the same thought, but no numbers or experience to really back up the assertion. I just vaguely remembered reports that Walmart wasn’t good at offering insurance to its employees. It does make the whole health care thing at least a little awkward.

  • Stephen,
    Thanks for the extra details. I agree that those are some great software and some really great technology. I love seagate drives. A little pricey, but incredibly reliable.

    However, the real question is how many doctors purchasing an EHR at Sam’s Club will know how to properly manage those software to make sure they’re working right? At least Dell will be doing the install, but I’m not even sure how skilled most of the Dell install people will be at setting up this type of encryption. It’s not rocket science, but it’s not eating bon bons either.

    It also still doesn’t show why it’s better to buy this from Walmart as opposed to just getting similar technologies elsewhere where you’ll get better support.

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