Walmart to unroll pilot doctor rating system, personal care assistant, and expanded telehealth programs in 2020
Walmart, the United States’ largest employer will be trying out some new things next year when it comes to their associates’ healthcare-and it could mean new patients for primary care physicians near the nation’s Walmart stores.
Walmart is starting several pilot programs in various parts of the country seeking to reshape the way their employees receive healthcare, according to a news release from the company.
The company will roll out a test of Featured Providers, a program aimed at connecting their employees with local physicians with a history of providing appropriate care. The first regions for the program will be Northwest Arkansas; Orlando and Tampa, Florida; and Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, according to Walmart.
The program uses data from public and private insurance programs to produce create reports on the individual physicians specializing in primary care, cardiology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, obstetrics, oncology, orthopedics, and pulmonology.
Walmart will then use these reports to create a list of doctors they will then give to their employees to allow for an informed decision about their care, the release said.
In an effort to ease the burden of scheduling appointments with an employee’s physician , the company will also unroll their Personal Healthcare Assistant in North Carolina and South Carolina, the release said.
The assistant uses a website, phone number and application to address health needs such as billing, appointments, finding a quality physician and understanding a diagnosis. It is also intended to help with logistical concerns such as transportation and childcare during appointments, according to the release.
Walmart will also be expanding its telehealth offerings in Colorado, Minnesota, and Wisconsin to include preventative health, chronic care management, urgent care, and behavioral health.
This voluntary program will allow patients to interact through video with their doctor with an entire team coordinating specialty care, as well as provide counseling on nutritional, diabetic or behavior health issues and visits, the release said.
Using the telehealth program, patients can book an appointment with a primary care doctor within an hour and a behavioral health visit within a week, the release said.
Lisa Woods, the company’s senior director of U.S. benefits, says that these pilot programs are intended to bring some transparency, effectiveness, and quality of care to their employees, according to the release.
The release said that with Walmart’s wide reach across the country, the hope is that these approaches will reach beyond just the company’s employees.
“If we get this right,” Woods said, “we can raise the tide for all health care.”