Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart has launched the Walmart Healthcare Research Institute to increase community access to healthcare research that may help lead to safer, higher quality and more equitable healthcare.
WHRI will be focused on innovative interventions and medications that can make a difference in underrepresented communities including older adults, rural residents, women and minority populations. WHRI initially is focused on inclusion in studies on treatments for chronic conditions and innovative treatments that should include members from these communities.
“At Walmart, we want to help ensure all our customers have access to high quality, affordable, and convenient healthcare resources, including innovative research,” said John Wigneswaran, chief medical officer.
“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.”
For decades, clinical trials have not been representative of the population at large and often recruit participants who live near research centers, have the time and have the financial ability to participate. According to Food and Drug Administration data, 75 percent of trial participants were white, 11 percent were Hispanic, 8 percent were Black and 6 percent 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 percent 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.
Walmart is working with a wide range of study partners, including clinical research organizations, pharmaceutical companies and leading academic medical centers, including CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services and Laina Enterprises.
“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,” said Bill Hawkins, board chairman, Duke University Health.
“This initiative will support individual patient health as well as the health of numerous communities home to Walmart stores.”
Walmart launched MyHealthJourney, a digital tool that lets patients take control of their own data through easy access to their eligible medical records and insurance information online in one place. With MyHealthJourney, patients receive reminders for care services and research opportunities.
Walmart’s Healthcare Research Institute is an extension of Walmart’s long-standing commitment to helping expand access to patients and underrepresented populations.
The retailer has demonstrated this through low-cost medicines, such as $4 generic medication program and private label Relion insulin, high-quality healthcare at Walmart-branded health centers and vision centers, partnerships and programs to address Social Determinants of Health and the opportunity to enroll in healthcare research.
Patients can learn more about healthcare research and opportunities that may be right for them at walmarthealthcareresearchinstitute.com.