On January 4, Professor Robert I. Field was interviewed by CNBC on Walmart’s move into providing health care. Walmart Health, the healthcare branch of Walmart, has clinics in Georgia, Texas and Arkansas, and offers primary care, mental health counseling and dentistry.
Despite the potential benefits of the planned expansion of Walmart Health, there are several issues Walmart will need to confront in order to establish itself as a trusted healthcare provider.
For example, Field noted that Walmart has not fully addressed how it will deal with personal data. While HIPAA protects personalized healthcare data, Walmart could employ allowances in the law to use de-identified data for “mining” and “target marketing,” according to Field. This information would, in turn, inform marketing strategies and retail services.