With today’s announcement that Walmart will partner with UnitedHealthcare in a ten-year collaboration to bring affordable health care to Mainstream Americans, we have yet another huge ripple in the evolving retail health ecosystem.
The other Big Healthcare news item this week was CVS Health’s planned acquisition of Signify Health, after much speculation that Amazon and other Big and smaller bidders (including UnitedHealth Group) were keen on acquiring the home/care company over the past two weeks.
With these two deals announced in the past three days, I recommend you not blink in this fast-morphing era of U.S. health care re-organization, at scale.
It’s about overcoming barriers to healthcare access: to bring health care closer to people at home, and closer-to-home in peoples’ communities and their trusted touchpoints that can advance health equity, decrease health disparities, and deliver outcomes for all peoples’ benefit — and to lower overall costs of care.
Check out the New York Times‘ analysis of CVS Health’s intended acquisition of Signify Health, where writer Lauren Hirsch quotes Dr. Eric Topol on the deal:
“Their interest is to take over the home. If you’re looking at it from Aetna’s standpoint, this is a way to save big, big expenditures for their people they cover,” Dr. Topol explained.
Lauren’s piece in the NY Times asserts that CVS is making an “8 billion bet on the return of the house call.”
Health Populi’s Hot Points: Welcome to the New Home Care…that will go well beyond the proverbial house call, as the Walmart+UHG and CVS + Signify deals more-than-hint.
The overall vision will be technology-underpinned, AI-informed, (hopefully) beautifully UX-designed work-flows aimed to scale and deliver care that’s affordable for the health consumer, productive and energizing for physicians, nurses and clinicians, and equitable for the health citizen.
That Walmart and UHG are committing to a 10-year strategy and roadmap gives them a long view that’s required for health/care transformation. That CVS Health is allocating $8 billion to the Signify Health purchase is also a big bet on this big vision.
Dr. Lyle Berkowitz pointed out on LinkedIn yesterday the thesis of a Bain & Company report on primary care covered by Heather Landi in FierceHealthcare. Lyle’s take was, “Another warning for my Health System friends…retailers, payers, and startups could capture 30% of primary care market by 30%.”
The Bain & Co. analysis discussed the many driving forces challenging the legacy healthcare system, “putting pressure on traditional healthcare models, paving the way for additional growth of models that promote more efficient care, improved outcomes, and reduced total cost.”
This is no long a wild card in our scenario planning: this factor is now on our planning grids with sooner-or-later certainties. Bain & Co. look to 30% primary care share among newer entrants. Walmart + UnitedHealth Group and CVS Health will try and move that needle even faster.