Walmart Launches Healthcare Research Institute, Increasing Provider Offerings
Walmart announced on Tuesday the launch of the Walmart Healthcare Research InstituteSM (WHRI) to increase community access to healthcare research that may help lead to safer, higher quality and more equitable healthcare. WHRI will be focused on innovative interventions and medications that can make a difference in underrepresented communities, including older adults, rural residents, and women and minority populations. WHRI initially is focused on inclusion in studies on treatments for chronic conditions and innovative treatments that should include members from these communities.
Walmart is working with a wide range of study partners, including clinical research organizations, pharmaceutical companies and leading academic medical centers, including CTI Clinical Trial & Consulting Services and Latina Enterprises. WHRI is already demonstrating strong results, with a referral rate 3x the industry benchmark, according to a company press release. The retailer also launched MyHealthJourneySM, a digital tool that lets patients take control of their own data through easy access to their eligible medical records and insurance information online in one place.
Total Retail's Take: As more retailers expand into the healthcare space, Walmart is doing this and more by diving into medical research. Walmart is tapping into its massive reach, particularly in rural and underserved communities across America, to "help ensure all our customers have access to high quality, affordable and convenient healthcare resources, including innovative research,” said Dr. John Wigneswaran, Walmart’s chief medical officer.
For decades, clinical trials have not been representative of the population at large and often recruit participants who live near research centers, have the time and have the financial ability to participate, Walmart states. The retail giant is looking to change that, as 90 percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart. WHRI is "an extension of Walmart’s long-standing commitment to helping expand access to patients and underrepresented populations," states the press release.
Walmart lists support from healthcare research leaders Bill Hawkins, chairman of the board, Duke University Health, and Dr. Raymond Samuel, professor, North Carolina A&T State University. “The efforts by Walmart in research are innovative and impactful — it's clear that the intention behind their foray into this space is to genuinely make a difference for patients of all ages, race and gender in their ability to access research,” said Hawkins. It will be interesting to see if any other retailers attempt to expand into this sector of healthcare to rival Walmart.
Kristina Stidham is the digital content director at Total Retail and sister brands Women in Retail Leadership Circle and Women Leading Travel & Hospitality at NAPCO Media. She is passionate about digital media and handles video, podcast and virtual event production for all brands. You can often find her at WIRLC, TR, WLT&H or industry events with her camera and podcasting equipment—or at home on Zoom—recording interviews with thought leaders and business executives.
Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia. Go Owls! When she's not in the office, she loves to go on long walks, sing around the house, hangout with her family and two pet guinea pigs, and travel to new places.