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Weight Loss May Be Coming to A Walmart Near You!

You heard it here first...

It's no secret that NutriSystem has a partnership with Walmart and one can sign up for the diet program in 4,000 stores. However...did you know that in early 2011, Walmart acquired tech start-up Kosmix for $300 million, and in doing so, established a Mountain View, CA headquarters for innovation?  Furthermore, it followed in 2013 with a second acquisition, this time in the patient-focused healthcare space, RightHealth.

According to Xconomy.com: "The dual acquisitions, combined with an influx of capital investment from the parent company, mean the retail giant is poised to make significant waves in healthcare in the coming months...Walmart Labs will likely use the next year to lay out new modes for connecting retail care back into the primary care communications loop."

"Given that Walmart is a global leader in quantifying retail decisions and automating communication, many have speculated about Walmart’s renewed fight for the healthcare space. This time around, I doubt they will try to convince physicians to use a particular electronic health record system, but rather look to develop a patient-centered platform that integrates consumer preferences and health habits to deliver, store, and transmit targeted information. For example, with the acquisition of Reclip.it, Walmart now has the ability to leverage advanced personalization technology and the startup’s big data expertise to develop a more targeted shopping experience."

Further: "As Walmart’s healthcare offerings expand, the record of services delivered (from eyeglass to wellness visits and blood pressure measurements) can also be stored and analyzed in a single mobile interface that the consumer controls.

Connecting this information to the primary care MD via the patient eliminates many cultural and technological barriers that foiled Walmart’s initial attempt at health record integration, while at the same time opening many doors for improving patients’ health and expanding on the scope of their services."

Expect this new legislation in CA to usher in a new definition of what it means to “make a stop at the pharmacy.”  California is becoming the first state to demonstrate a truly integrated retail and community healthcare experience. And as is often the case, where California goes, the rest of the country follows.

Marketdata Commentary

With 11,000 store nationwide, this could be a game changer for weight loss competition. The writing is on the wall. Just a matter of time before Walmart develops its own weight loss program, OR hooks up with a trusted partner. Will that partner be you?

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