And then Wal-Mart from right field…

Wal-Mart: the giant…health care integrator?

Wal-Mart‘s (astonishing?) announcement Tuesday from The New York Times:

Wal-Mart Stores is striding into the market for electronic health records, seeking to bring the technology into the mainstream for physicians in small offices, where most of America’s doctors practice medicine.

Evidently the retailing giant will partner with Dell (hardware) and eClinicalWorks (software) to complete the service.  Installation, maintenance, and training will be included.  The product will be offered through the Sam’s Club brand.  It’s going to be (relatively) cheap, too.  More details:

“We’re a high-volume, low-cost company,” said Marcus Osborne, senior director for health care business development at Wal-Mart. “And I would argue that mentality is sorely lacking in the health care industry.”

The Sam’s Club offering, to be made available this spring, will be under $25,000 for the first physician in a practice, and about $10,000 for each additional doctor. After the installation and training, continuing annual costs for maintenance and support will be $4,000 to $6,500 a year, the company estimates.

An affordable EMR option.  Waiting, patiently, for the reaction on this one.  (Mr. Osborne’s quote above is interesting, too.)