Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wal-Mart continues to show how it can be a change-maker in the health world by virtue of its ability to distribute products at a high-volume for low prices. The New York Times says the world's largest retailer, which already has introduced $4 generic prescriptions and over-the-counter tobacco cessation kits priced below $10, is now working to provide electronic health records technology that will be affordable for physicians working in small offices.

"The company plans to team its Sam’s Club division with Dell for computers and eClinicalWorks, a fast-growing private company, for software," writes the Times' Steve Lohr. "...The Sam’s Club offering, to be made available this spring, will be under $25,000 for the first physician in a practice, and about $10,000 for each additional doctor. After the installation and training, continuing annual costs for maintenance and support will be $4,000 to $6,500 a year, the company estimates."

The Obama administration's plan provides financial incentives of more than $40,000 per physician over a few years, to install and use electronic health records. Only about 17 percent of the nation’s physicians currently use computerized patient records. About 200,000 health care providers, mostly doctors, are among Sam Club’s 47 million members.


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