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The New York Times reports that Walmart is getting into the electronic health records business, and “plans to team its Sam’s Club division with Dell for computers and eClinicalWorks, a fast-growing private company, for software. Wal-Mart says its package deal of hardware, software, installation, maintenance and training will make the technology more accessible and affordable, undercutting rival health information technology suppliers by as much as half.”

The cost of the package will be under $25,000 for the first doctor in a practice, and $10,000 for each additional physician in a given practice. Annual support services are estimated to cost about $5,000 a year.

While Walmart has been interested in this business for awhile, the timing is particularly propitious…part of the stimulus package endorsed by the Obama administration includes $19 billion in incentives designed to get doctors and hospitals to adopt digital medical records.

KC's View:
Whether this will stimulate the economy is probably an open question, but there seems to be a pretty good bet that it will stimulate Walmart’s bottom line.

On the face of it, this seems to be an idea more than ready to be implemented. I don't know about you, but whenever I walk into a doctor’s office and see stacks and stacks and shelves and shelves of file folders, all I can think is that they seem to be depending on a technology that is pretty much the same as it has been for centuries.