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Offering access to medical studies. Photo: Pixabay.

Walmart introduces the Healthcare Research Institute (WHRI)

It is focused on the mission of improving care for diverse communities through research.

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With the goal of providing access to healthcare information that can help achieve safer, higher quality and more equitable service, the retail giant recently announced the launch of this initiative.

WHRI will focus on innovative medicines and interventions that can make a difference in diverse communities, including older adults, rural residents, women, and minority populations.

As a starting point, the WHRI is focused on developing studies on treatments for chronic diseases and innovative treatments that should include members of these communities.

Dr. John Wigneswaran, Walmart’s Chief Medical Officer, stated:

At Walmart, we want to help ensure all our customers have access to high quality, affordable, and convenient healthcare resources, including innovative research.

More diverse clinical trials

Walmart highlights the low participation of the general population in clinical trials by citing 2020 data from the Food and Drug Administration, which indicates that 75% of trial participants were white, 11% were Hispanic, 8% were black, and 6% were Asian.

“Walmart is focused on studies that can have a health equity impact in the communities it serves and represent all populations. With 90% of Americans living within 10 miles of a Walmart, the retailer can offer solutions to care by meeting customers and patients where they live and work,” pointed out the company. 

Alliances

The organization is working with a long list of study partners, including leading clinical research organizations, pharmaceutical companies and academic medical centers, most notably CTI Clinical Trial & Consulting Services, and Laina Enterprises.

Thanks to this important research network, WHRI is already demonstrating strong results, with a referral rate 3 times higher than that offered by the industry.

“We know our customers are interested in participating in healthcare research, but many have not had access until now. We are already making an impact for our customers and for medical research, by raising patient trust and engagement in their care,” added Wigneswaran.

Through the launch of the MyHealthJourney digital tool, Walmart enables patients to control their own data through easy access to their eligible medical records and insurance information online in one place. In addition, users receive reminders of care services and research opportunities.

“The efforts by Walmart in research are innovative and impactful – it is clear that the intention behind their foray into this space is to genuinely make a difference for patients of all ages, race and gender in their ability to access research. This initiative will support individual patient health as well as the health of numerous communities home to Walmart stores,” noted Bill Hawkins, Chairman of the Board of Duke University Health. 

Walmart milestones in medical research and services

  • Low-cost medications through its $4 generic brand, as well as its private label Relion insulin.
  • High-quality health care at Walmart Health Centers and Vision Centers.
  • Associations and programs to address the social determinants of health.
  • Access to health research.

Patients can learn more about healthcare research and opportunities that may be right for them by clicking here.

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