Healthcare was Walmart’s fastest-growing business sector last quarter. What do you see as the company’s big healthcare wins lately?
I’d say the things that we are very much focused on are the ways people utilize healthcare. There are days when they are leaving their homes and going into an office. We provide solutions for that; we’re growing that in-person care. We’re opening clinics in Florida this year and adding additional clinics in Arkansas where we already have a presence. When people need to see someone, whether it’s on a Saturday or a Sunday, we want them to be able to have that in-person care by our clinical team.
The second piece of that is people are not just looking for primary care. For many people, they need dental and optical care. Sometimes they need help with understanding their health benefits. We provide optical and dental care within the same primary-care site. And we have community health workers to help people understand their health benefits. We’ll also help them with any other health challenges. So that one single source and place to get all of your healthcare needs is what we have—in person.
There are people, however, who’d like to receive their care virtually. I’m one of those people. And what I’m looking for is, again, that easy access. Walmart today is only in a number of states. As we continue to expand that business, a telehealth business that we acquired last year, which is now called Walmart Health, allows us to provide virtual healthcare across the country to anyone.
In our telehealth offerings, we not only include virtual health for adults but we also launched a program specifically for teens, recognizing the needs of that population. We also have a virtual COVID-19 program where you can see someone for your symptoms, you can be prescribed medications and then you can have those filled at one of our pharmacies in real time. In some of our locations, we will also deliver that to your home the same day. So we’re really attempting to allow people to get healthcare the way they need it without disrupting the rest of their life.
How would you describe adoption for both the primary-care clinics and telehealth?
Adoption has been pretty amazing. For our clinics and some of our sites, we’ve seen growth of 80% year-over-year. We’ve also seen (net promoter scores) somewhere in the 80s, which is pretty incredible for us as an organization. We’re seeing people lining up for specific services, even if they’ve seen their clinician in person for their follow-up visit, they’d like that to be virtual because it’s a blood pressure check, or it’s to see how they’re doing with their medications. We have integrated virtual health into our clinics. We’re seeing that also be a way for people to access care through us. I mentioned our NPS score in our clinics, and I’d say for our pharmacies—another great place for everyone who’s received a COVID vaccine this year—NPS scores are somewhere around 75 to 78. So we’re very focused on consumers not only having a great experience, but in ensuring that we’re providing value and improving healthcare outcomes.
Obviously, Walmart is a huge employer as well. Are there any differences in your strategy as an employer versus for the customers who come through Walmart’s doors?
I always remind people that for our Walmart pharmacies and clinics, our greatest users are actually our associates. We have 1.6 million in the U.S. What we hear and the feedback we receive from them regarding what they like about the healthcare services that we provide—that’s actually our greatest motivation for innovation. It’s because our associates actually live in these communities. They know what their own healthcare and their family’s healthcare needs are. And that really drives us in being able to provide solutions that they can use.
When I say that we have a new COVID-19 telehealth offering, it’s because of what our associates need. They want to do symptom checking. They want to see a physician if they need to. They’d like education about the new oral treatments. They’d like to understand if they need a booster. And so we’ve really encapsulated what they need. Knowing what they need allows us to personalize it to the communities.