Quest Diagnostics and Walmart on Monday announced co-branded sites in about 15 Walmart locations in Florida and Texas by the end of the year to provide lab testing and eventually, a broader range of health care services, according to a press release from the companies.
Quest provides patients with direct access to lab testing with sites in Colorado, Missouri and Arizona. Patients can track their lab results and health data through the company’s patient portal and mobile app.
The partnership is part of Walmart’s ongoing efforts to broaden health care services, a method of increasing traffic and sales also pursued by drugstore retailers, most prominently CVS Health.
Walmart’s new Quest sites will further the retailer’s expansion of healthcare services, George Riedl, senior vice president and president, Walmart health and wellness, said in a statement.
“At Walmart, we’re not only focused on providing accessible, affordable healthcare, but also working to extend our offerings — truly making our stores a one-stop shop for our customers’ everyday health and wellness needs,” he said. “We look forward to working with Quest as we operate in an increasingly dynamic and consumer-centric health care environment.”
CVS may be the poster child for these kinds of efforts, which reflects a new healthcare retail environment in the wake of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. In February 2014, the drugstore retailer shocked many when they announced the end of tobacco sales in stores — a sacrifice of some $2 billion annually. The move was integral to the company’s pivot to being a serious healthcare deliverer, the retailer’s chief medical offer, physician Troy Brennan MD, said at the time.
That’s also when the retailer rebranded itself from CVS Caremark to CVS Health, putting healthcare delivery goals front and center. The retailer has since launched a five-year campaign to end tobacco use among youth. Earlier this year, rival Walgreens fielded challenges from investors who said the company is undermining its own healthcare retail efforts by continuing to sell tobacco products.
Walmart has been expanding healthcare services in recent years. In 2015 the retailer announced a series of initiatives, from moving healthy protein bars into more prominent places on grocery shelves to offering free health screenings like blood pressure readings at all U.S. stores. Select stores also offer vaccines and the retailer offers consultations to help customers choose health exchanges.
“Those are all great opportunities to serve the Walmart customer better, and gets them to be more and more sticky,” Jason Goldberg, VP of commerce at digital marketing firm Razorfish who also blogs at Retail Geek, told Retail Dive then. “Do your taxes here, cash your paycheck, do your grocery shopping. This is how to improve the share of wallet for that core Walmart customer, more so than trying to move upscale and appeal to style shoppers" the way Target and others do.