Urgent care operators have gotten more competitive with each other in recent years, working tirelessly to distinguish themselves and investing in new technologies to ensure the overall patient experience continues to exceed expectations. They’ve also had to make it clear to patients that urgent care offers a wider range of services than retail drugstores as those companies have tried to get a piece of the walk-in care action. There’s another setting that’s gone somewhat under the radar to date, however. Big box retailers have dabbled in convenience care over the years, but now Walmart seems to be taking a serious run at offering direct primary care and urgent care services. Just last week the company unveiled its first standalone health facility: a 10,000 square foot space adjacent to a Walmart supercenter in Dallas, GA that offers primary care, lab tests, x-rays, and other services including dental, hearing, and optical care. Costs are listed as $40 for a primary care visit; $30 for adult annual physicals ($20 for children’s); and $20 for tests for flu, strep, or mono tests. The company says it will open a second such location in Calhoun, GA, later this year. Walmart has sputtered in previous attempts to make inroads in patient care, but by virtue of its sheer size and name recognition, if they get their act together they could present a new competitive challenge to existing operators in other settings.
Ignore Potential Competitors from the Big Box Sector at Your Peril