Walmart Takes On Amazon With MeMD Telehealth Acquisition

The retailer will now look to expand Walmart Health nationwide through new telehealth options.

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Need to Know

  • Walmart plans to expand Walmart Health, its healthcare vertical, nationally through its new acquisition MeMD.
  • The MeMD partnership will allow Walmart to provide virtual healthcare services across the country using MeMD’s telehealth infrastructure.
  • The move better positions Walmart to compete with Amazon, as that mega-retailer continues to expand its Amazon Care telehealth offerings.

Analysis

Walmart has strengthened its foothold in the healthcare arena, announcing on Thursday that it has acquired telehealth company MeMD.

With MeMD, Walmart will be able to expand its Walmart Health services nationwide, through MeMD’s secure telehealth platform. Walmart Health, established in 2019, currently offers in-person healthcare at six clinics in the US, with nine more clinics planned. The MeMD acquisition, however, will allow Walmart to drastically scale up its healthcare offerings in the telehealth space — a move that the company says will allow Walmart’s healthcare team to meet customers where they are.

“Today people expect omnichannel access to care, and adding telehealth to our Walmart Health care strategies allows us to provide in-person and digital care across our multiple assets and solutions,” Dr. Cheryl Pegus, Walmart’s EVP of health and wellness. “Our Health & Wellness mission is to focus on the consumer’s seamless experience and improved health. We are excited to welcome MeMD employees to the Walmart family, and we are looking forward to together, accelerating health care access across the country.”

The MeMD acquisition from Walmart comes just shy of a month after Amazon announced it would be expanding Amazon Care, the healthcare program previously only available to Amazon employees, nationwide. Amazon Care allows employers to offer an alternative to traditional medical coverage that is efficient and high-quality and offers a number of coronavirus-specific tools, such as helping patients adjust their work-from-home setups to be the most ergonomic they can be. Amazon Care is also now administering COVID-19 vaccines in-house. 

The acquisition of MeMD by Walmart is the second major healthcare purchase the company has made since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In June 2020, Walmart purchased digital tech assets from CareZone, which allowed the retailer’s customers to more easily manage their prescriptions online. At that time, Lori Flees, SVP of health and wellness for Sam’s Club, and Sean Slovenski, SVP of health and wellness for Walmart, wrote in a blog post that the purchase was part of Walmart’s commitment to “delivering innovative solutions to increase access to affordable and convenient healthcare across our business.”

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