From wellness clinics to doctor visits, retailers are all-in on healthcare.
Expensive yet ineffective, the US healthcare system continues to disappoint.
Reversing this trend, a global report from The Commonwealth Fund said increasing access, ensuring affordability, and preventing chronic conditions are top priorities.
Pursuing those goals, digital health startups have raised billions of dollars to disrupt the status quo. But telehealth visits are only part of the equation.
In an effort to meet people where they are, retailers, pharmacies, and grocery stores are leveraging tech to own “healthcare’s front door.”
Bolstered by the pandemic, telehealth adoption reached 80% in 2022.
But, most patients still prefer in-person care for managing mental health, chronic conditions, wellness exams, and more.
Moving in, retailers like Walmart, CVS, and Albertsons want to boost profits and health outcomes by creating alternative care sites. Their timing couldn’t be better.
Consumerism has taken hold. With increased access to information and technology, consumers are demanding better-quality care at lower costs.
And care models are shifting. Moving from fee-for-service to value-based reimbursement, more providers are doubling down on convenient, preventative, and vertically integrated care models.
Along those lines, by 2030, Bain & Company expects 30% of primary care to be delivered by nontraditional providers — with retailers accounting for 5–10% of patients.
With thousands of locations, reaching hundreds of millions of customers each week, retailers want to be a one-stop shop for everything — including healthcare.
Elsewhere… With 40% of shoppers willing to share health insights to receive personalized food recommendations, Albertsons launched a wellness app, uniting wearable data, nutrition, telehealth, and more.
Meanwhile, tech titan Amazon added brick-and-mortar clinics to its healthcare arsenal with the $3.9B purchase of primary care provider One Medical.
Experience. The goal, according to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, is rooted in the company’s customer obsession:
“We believe we can make the healthcare experience easier, faster, more personal, and more convenient for everyone.”
Integration. Another approach, CVS Health CEO Karen Lynch is betting on the integration of insurance, prescriptions, clinics, and more:
“I want you to think about CVS Health first because we have that entire continuum of care to support you in that journey of health.”
Location. Yet another path, because 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart and 75% within five miles of a Dollar General, these retailers are uniquely positioned to increase access among underserved communities, particularly in rural areas.
Looking ahead: Healthcare is big business, and retailers want a slice of the trillion-dollar pie. Still, the idea of selling candy and cigarettes up front while filling prescriptions and conducting exams in the back sends a mixed message. Easier said than done, the winners have to inspire trust and deliver results in order to turn shoppers into patients.
Calibrate co-founder & CEO Isabelle Kenyon weighs in on the growing debate around GLP-1s.
We also cover: the platform’s metabolic reset program and safe prescribing practices for clinical weight loss medication.
Listen to today’s episode here
The company’s elite coaching service aims to replace one-size-fits-all recommendations with personalized protocols for high performance.
Dialed in. Analyzing bloodwork and wearable data, Fount’s coaches help users fine-tune their diet, sleep, fitness, and more. Through an ongoing process of self-experimentation, the plan is tracked and refined over multiple cycles to achieve optimal results.
According to Fount COO Clayton Kim, personalization is essential to pushing the limits of human performance:
“The only real path to self-improvement is through experimentation and habit formation. So, we aim to be the meta-layer on top of all of these [health] modalities, optimizing the path of experimentation across all domains that affect performance.”
Special ops. On the Fitt Insider Podcast, Fount CEO Andrew Herr explained how his experience working with military operators laid the foundation for his approach to “hyper-individualized programs.”
High-end. Not cheap, the service costs $3K per month. And, to date, its memberbase is primarily made up of athletes, executives, and celebrities.
Looking ahead: Expanding beyond sports and special operators, Herr plans to use AI to scale Fount’s experimentation platform, while also releasing standalone products derived from its findings.
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Two recent systematic reviews found evidence that exercise can greatly improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The researchers were clear in their conclusions: Physical activity is an evidence-based antidepressant and should be pursued as a “first-choice treatment.”
Step one… To combat a lack of motivation and establish a routine, it’ll be important for mental health clinicians to create structured exercise protocols—from walks to working out—for those with chronic depression or illness.
Self-medicating. With burnout on the rise, more Americans are already taking action — and improving mental health has become a key motivator for exercising. In response, fitness and wellness operators are catering to demand for mindful movement.
Punchline: To date, solutions for mental and physical health have been siloed. But as consumers pursue holistic wellness and brands lean in, therapists could (and should) begin prescribing workouts for better mental health.
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