Retail News Breaks Archives
Walmart to adopt systems for Rx, retail clinics
June 19th, 2012
NEW YORK – Walmart is slated to leverage technologies that will facilitate back-office pharmacy processing and expand access to health services through its retail medical clinics.
Inmar, a provider of collaborative commerce network solutions, said this week that Walmart plans to implement its Pharmacy Contract Management and Reconciliation Solution in the discount store chain's 4,400-plus pharmacies under the Walmart, Neighborhood Market, Sam's Club, Walmart Express and Walmart on Campus banners.
The solution is designed to automate the labor-intensive processes for reconciling claims and managing the contracts among pharmacies, manufacturers and carriers, according to Winston, N.C.-based Inmar. With the system, the pharmacies will have the information and tools needed to ensure the accuracy of the payments they receive from carriers and those they make to government program, the company said.
Inmar noted that millions of claims and transactions tied to thousands of contracts move through Walmart's pharmacies and others daily.
"The process of manually reconciling each claim and matching it to each contract to ensure accuracy is daunting and most often cost-prohibitive," stated David Mounts, chief executive officer of Inmar, whose solution is being used at more than 12,000 pharmacies nationwide. "These companies simply must leverage technology and best practices to ensure both profitability and compliance."
Meanwhile, Walmart's in-store health clinics are planning to use a remote video consultation service being developed by BCS Global Networks, a provider of managed videoconferencing, telepresence, and visual collaboration services, and Telemed Ventures, which offers the Smart Care Doc telemedicine platform.
BCS Global said its managed visual collaboration solution allows remote video interaction between a patient and a doctor through a virtual, face-to-face video interface over a secure video network. The service enables Telemed to provide a reliable visual collaboration platform for patients, nurses, doctors and other health care providers.
According to BCS Global and Telemed, users of the service will be able to conduct face-to-face interactions over the Internet using laptops, smartphones or tablets, making it an affordable solution for patients, doctors and health providers.
"We are very excited to partner with Telemed to deliver our managed, cloud-based, visual collaboration solution to Walmart's retail medical clinics," Clive Sawkins, CEO of BCS Global, said in a statement. "Video technology continues to evolve exponentially; technology that came to market 12 to 18 months ago is now primetime. Surpassing the underlying technology that powered the legacy video systems of yesterday is a newer, more intelligent technology that enables us to bring to Walmart's retail medical clinics a cost-effective solution and an improved user experience."
BCS Global and Telemed noted that patients using the service get all the benefits of a traditional doctor's visit: the ability to see a physician instead of a less-experienced practitioner, engaging the doctor in a dialogue about medical issues, predictable and transparent pricing options, and the accurate acquisition of health vitals (via biometric devices) and information.
"Video stations set up within the clinics enable patients to virtually conduct interactive doctor and specialist visits. The service is designed to promote the effective utilization of health care resources in a cost-effective manner and increase patients' access to health care professionals," Sawkins explained. "This innovative service eliminates the patient's burden of having to travel to out-of-the-way clinics or sit in waiting rooms anticipating whether their name will be called next. Especially important, given next-generation health care, this solution enables timely access to health care providers, increasing the quality of health care service for an aging population."
Overall, Walmart has about 150 in-store clinics — most under The Clinic At Walmart banner — in 27 states. The clinics are owned and operated by third-party health care providers.
"The cost of health care has been spiraling in the U.S., yet we rank 19th in the world in health care outcomes," stated Dr. Raj Shah, Telemed Ventures' founder and CEO. "Our Smart Care Doc retail locations deliver an office visit for 40% to 50% less than the fee for traditional office visits by integrating diagnostic medical devices with a world-class video network."