The next time you head to Walmart, you may pick up more than just your groceries and cold medicine—you might also take home a voucher for a no-cost telemedicine consultation with Doctor On Demand, a direct-to-consumer virtual care provider. A new three-way partnership between Walmart, Doctor On Demand, and RB, a leading consumer health and hygiene company, is seeking to provide the public with unprecedented access to physicians from their digital devices during this cold and flu season through telemedicine for consumers.
This autumn, customers who purchase Delsym®, Airborne®, Mucinex®, or Digestive Advantage® at Walmart will be offered a free face-to-face telemedicine visit with a Doctor On Demand physician; this visit can be redeemed at any time 24/7, with an average wait time of five minutes to see a doctor.
According to Doctor On Demand CEO Hill Ferguson, 90 percent of the most common issues that arise in urgent care and the ER can be resolved with a telemedicine visit; this includes colds and flu, allergies, skin and eye issues, and back pain, among other problems. Telemedicine also offers a distinct advantage over in-office visits: immediate, convenient access to care. On average, he says, it takes 18 days to schedule an appointment with a doctor. On the day of the appointment, it typically takes up to three hours to travel to the office, receive treatment, and return to your destination. Telemedicine visits eliminate the delay, time, and travel requirements of a traditional office visit.
On a more urgent note, last year’s flu season proved especially brutal when the vaccine turned out to be ineffective 80 percent of the time; the flu was most effectively treated within the first 48 hours of infection, but patients were seldom able to see a doctor within those first two days. In fact, many medical facilities discouraged people from coming in, asking them to use a telemedicine service instead. With Walmart’s new program, the hope is that consumers will use the free telemedicine consult at the earliest signs of trouble, rather than waiting until the symptoms are bad enough to warrant an urgent care or ER visit.
In addition to these benefits in addressing immediate care concerns, we at swyMed especially see the value of home health telemedicine for consumers in Remote Patient Evaluation; chronic conditions are on the rise, and thus home health is becoming a greater area of interest for consumers and their families.
To learn more about Walmart’s new program, visit Healthcare Finance here.