Walmart launches telehealth campaign with Doctor on Demand

Retail giant Walmart has partnered with consumer health and hygiene company RB to launch a telehealth initiative with Doctor on Demand, a virtual care provider. The initiative, which is limited in scope and will offer some consumers a free telehealth visit with Doctor on Demand, is a campaign that aims to boost the clout of telehealth.

Walmart employees already can use Doctor on Demand services. The telehealth company has direct contracts with several large employers.

The announcement follows in the steps of healthcare retailers such as CVS Health, which rolled out its new telehealth pilot earlier this fall. Many healthcare companies are ramping up telehealth capabilities to better serve consumers, who face an average wait of 18 days to schedule an appointment with a doctor, according to RB.

Walmart has also been exploring other healthcare opportunities, including a rumored acquisition of health insurance company Humana and collaborating with other health plans.

Specifically, consumers who buy certain over-the-counter medicines, including Mucinex, Delsym, Airborne or Digestive Advantage, will receive a free telehealth medical consultation with a Doctor on Demand physician this fall.

Doctor on Demand, which launched in late 2013, surpassed one million video visits in May this year.

“Despite consumers' desire to take more control of their health, the path isn't always clear, and access to fast, reliable and affordable healthcare solutions remains a cause of stress," Gregory Chabidon, chief medical officer of USA at RB Health Unit, said in a statement. "The program with Doctor On Demand at the start of cough, cold & flu season is designed to help improve access to healthcare at just the right time.”