Wal-Mart seizes the moment with e-health care solution...and lessons are many
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Love 'em, or hate 'em, Wal-Mart is clearly among the most innovative and successful companies on the planet over the last half-century. Critics typically point to the company's sheer size and relentless cost cutting as the pillars of Wal-Mart's success, but constant innovation in business model, use of technology, are supply chain management are at least as important. The company also has a finely-tuned understanding of its markets and a willingness to make intelligent bets on the future (witness the current substantial push toward sustainability).
Today's New York Times article on Wal-Mart's new initiative to sell a digital medical records solution to small doctor's office is a perfect example -- and one with any number of lessons to other companies trying to sell high-value packaged solutions.
The initiative is interesting enough: Wal-Mart is partnering with Dell and a small software company, eClinicalWorks, to offer an integrated package to small medical practices at a much lower cost than competitive offers. It's a big opportunity. Few small medical offices today have computerized records, according to The Times, but more than three-quarters of all U.S. physicians work in offices of ten doctors or fewer. Wal-Mart's offering will come through its Sam's Club division, which already counts some 200,000 doctors within its membership.
From a marketing and solutions perspective, though, the initiative suggests a number of lessons that are more widely applicable:"If Wal-Mart is successful, this could be a game-changer," Dr. David J. Brailer, former national coordinator for health information technology in the Bush administration told The Times.
For me, it's also a wonderful lesson in solutions marketing. Do you agree?
*For an interview about the initiative with Girish Kuman, CEO of eClinicalWorks, click here.
Photo credit: D'Arcy Norman
Note: Cross-posted on Reputation to Revenue.