There are many different electronic medical records on the market. For a physician, the decision to purchase one is no small task. The transformation from a traditional medical chart to a electronic medical record is a big commitment that will take time and money. However, whether or not a physician or a medical group will purchase from a discounted warehouse is still not known. There are a lot of questions physicians will have an it is unlikely that a person standing next to a sausage sampler could give all the information needed. Intense training will be required before the EMR can become fully functional.
Wal-Mart + eClinicalWorks Electronic Medical Records | An Odd Couple with Good Intentions
The Wal-Mart / eClinicalWorks (eCW) partnership to sell electronic medical records (EMR) software in Sam’s Club strikes us as an odd couple. While we think eCW will benefit from this marketing coup, we don’t see the relationship lasting over the long term.
Certainly, the intent is good: simplify a traditionally complex and expensive purchase by distributing through a low-cost distribution channel. Moreover, eCW is as good a partner as any for Wal-Mart:
The product is a comprehensive system built on solid technology;
eCW has great momentum and viability; and,
eCW has already succeeded as a value leader.
However, we don’t think EMR software presents the same economies of scale that Wal-Mart relies on to deliver “everyday low prices.” Wal-Mart can sell a wide range of products at low prices because they negotiate massive bulk purchases, run dramatically efficient logistics and efficiently manage inventory.
Those strengths may make a difference for the Dell hardware they are selling as part of this deal, but it doesn’t mean much when it comes to software. Software is essentially intangible – it can be delivered on a CD or via the Internet – and it is easily “manufactured” such that there is almost no variable cost of goods to be whittled down.
As a result, transportation and inventory optimization are irrelevant when it comes to eCW software. Sam’s Club members may assume they’ll get better prices through this deal, but from what we can tell, the $25,000 price tag is about the same as what they would pay through any other channel (i.e. eCW resellers or direct from eCW) for the same bundle of software, hardware and services.
Furthermore, we do see some very real sales and services challenges arising from this partnership. Simply put: sophisticated, $25,000 EMR systems don’t sell themselves. Get a Wal-Mart “greeter” involved and things could get ugly. Wal-Mart has already stumbled a bit trying to support the relatively complex sale of iPhones. EMRs are a far more complex sale. My mind goes to the horribly awkward image of a brilliant, yet intolerant, cardiologist interrogating a greeter about eCW functionality. The mismatch of intellect and clinical expertise could be incendiary….read more here…