New TX venture offers twist on retail clinic model

In an interesting mashup of retail clinic and telemedical models, a group of Houston-based Wal-Marts will soon begin offering walk-in telemedical consults. The service is being offered by a partnership between retail clinic operator My Healthy Access and NuPhysicia, which operates using telemedicine approaches developed by the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Under the agreement, paramedics will do the patient examination under a doctor's direct supervision, using NuPhysicia's telemedical technology. In this model of retail care, the telemedicine consult replaces the traditional retail clinic visit, under which patients are managed by nurse practitioners under a physician's broad oversight.

To our knowledge, Wal-Mart is the first major player that is experimenting with offering telemedicine as a retail care approach. However, Wal-Mart's experiment is likely to generate followers if it's even slightly successful, as recruiting local nurse practitioners for clinics is always a challenge.

To learn more about this model:
- read this Healthcare IT News piece
- read this press release

Related Articles:
Despite benefits, telemedicine barriers remain high
Study: Telemedicine could save $4.2 billion annually
Doctors push law regulating retail clinics
Wal-Mart plans 2,000 retail clinics