Wal-Mart is opening its first Marketside store (yes, that Wal-Mart). The concept is a 15,000 square foot (much, much smaller than the Super Wal-Mart) neighborhood market. It’s meant to compete with Tesco’s Fresh & Easy entrance into the United States.
The Financial Times reports the new concept “marks a dramatic break with the branding of the rest of Wal-Mart’s more than 3,400 low-cost US stores.”
What does this have to do with health care?
The trend. It’s smaller, manageable, intimate, community-like. If a Super Wal-Mart is 1000+ bed quaternary hospital, then a Marketside neighborhood market is a … to be determined.
Some may think it’s a retail clinic, but the analogy doesn’t hold here. The retail clinic depends on the foot traffic generated by the big box retailer or pharmacy. It’s not a specialty hospital either, not enough product offerings. Most likely it’s a health delivery concept that hasn’t reached the masses yet, like the medical home or micro practice.
Regardless of what it actually is, the concept of neighborhood health care delivery is much more desireable than the mass production of a primary care clinic attached to a super hospital.