Two experts give insights into why non-traditional brands are moving into the healthcare sector.
Non-traditional brands like Uber, Amazon, CVS and Walmart continue to push further into healthcare. While this might create competition for health systems and physicians in the traditional healthcare office setting, the ultimate goal is to help patients stay healthy, which could mean accessing care in more convenient, new and different ways.
At HLTH2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sean Mehra, co-founder and chief strategy officer at HealthTap, and Veeneta Lakhani, senior vice president for health services at Vida Health, offered insights into non-traditional brands moving further into healthcare.
Editor’s note: The following transcription has been lightly edited for length, style and clarity.
Sean Mehra: You're beginning to see a lot of non-traditional companies entering the healthcare space from retailers like Amazon who have a digital first strategy to retailers like CVS, Walmart and Walgreens that have always had a local brick and mortar strategy.
Veeneta Lakhani: I think this is an exciting time in healthcare. We're seeing a lot of evolution of non-healthcare brands and transportation organizations that are coming in to make sure that we can reduce barriers to people getting to the doctor's office and getting their breast cancer screenings. It's amazing. It's great to see that kind of outpour and that last line sort of support happen. That's an example.
Sean Mehra: All of these players are beginning to realize this opportunity to cater to these U.S. consumers. Because they have an established relationship with so many U.S. consumers, either because they physically walk into their stores and pharmacies, or because they are going to the website to buy goods and services all the time, they're realizing that there's an opportunity for them to sell healthcare goods and services more affordably and more conveniently then otherwise available to them through their insurance company or local healthcare provider.
Veeneta Lakhani: We're seeing TV and technology organizations that are normally outside of healthcare now step in and really try to provide more continuity of care right from the home.
Sean Mehra: So that's why it's not surprising when you see folks like CVS, Walmart, Amazon and Walgreens thinking about launching clinics and integrating them with their pharmacies and figuring out ways to give you discounts on the next over the counter cream or diaper rash ointment that you need to buy your baby.
Veeneta Lakhani: It’s an exciting time in healthcare to see all of that evolution. And it's going to take a village to get to where we need to get.
Sean Mehra: All of this really boils down to a very interesting facet of healthcare, which all these players are go be paying attention to. And that is primary care because it is the part of healthcare that 80% of us need, 80% of the time. If we could just see someone that's local and convenient for the cold and the sniffles before it becomes something worse, we can get people good healthcare at the right time and stay healthier.
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