Can Wal-Mart help doctors implement electronic medical records?

Well, they’re going to give it a try.

In a somewhat audacious initiative, Wal-Mart is entering the digital medical records fray. They’re proposing to bundle computers and equipment, along with a popular EMR program, to sell to doctors at an attractive price. They’re probably hoping that bulk purchases with help with the pricing.

Will it work? It depends.

David Williams, although cautiously optimistic, has some doubts. “The program addresses one of the key bottlenecks of EHR adoption for small practices: distribution,” writes Mr. Williams. “Having said that, I’m not convinced Wal-Mart has any idea how to do this.”

Implementation is only half the battle. The remaining half involves a significant amount of continuing technical support, and adopting clinician work flow to that of the digital system. I can say from experience, that the second part is by far the more challenging, and each practice will present unique challenges.

Can a Wal-Mart representative have the experience to guide practices through these often difficult transitions?

I have my doubts on that, but I applaud the initiatve nonetheless, as any effort to help ease the transition over the electronic records needs to be supported.

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