Walmart appoints former Healthways President to its healthcare arm
Walmart has revealed that it has appointed Sean Slovenski to its healthcare team. Former Vice President of Innovation at healthcare giant Humana and President of Healthways, Slovenski will no doubt aim to provide stronger business ties between the retail business and Humana.
Operating within the healthcare industry for over 20 years, Slovenski is a renowned figure in transforming businesses, driving new healthcare innovations and becoming the leader behind the development of health and wellness products and services, such as the first online personal coaching service.
In his new role, Slovenski is set to report to Walmart’s President and CEO, Greg Foran, Bloomberg has reported, and will join the business next month.
In April this year, it was reported that Walmart was in early talks to acquire Humana, following on from Aetna’s failure to acquire the company. Health insurance stocks rose upon the news.
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The two companies remain in close partnership, where Humana houses representatives within Walmart stores, as well as Sam Club brands and in store clinics in Texas, Georgia and South Carolina.
As Walmart aims to expand its healthcare portfolio and cement its position within the industry by disrupting traditional models of care, it will look towards Slovenski’s expertise to further drive down escalating healthcare costs and provide tailored solutions to the growing market, whilst supporting individuals through the US Medicare programme.
CVS Health’s $69bn acquisition of health insurer Aetna, and Cigna’s acquisition of Express Scripts are placing increased pressures on traditional services, with vertical integration across the M&A sector becoming a hot topic for healthcare providers.
Additionally, new players such as Amazon are looking at ways to disrupt traditional ways of working through not only partnering with other multinational companies, but are also working on solutions of their own, with voice recognition technology, Alexa, being a key example.
Amazon has also entered the pharmaceutical distribution market with its acquisition of PillPack and is in talks with digital prescription company Xealth, further placing increased pressures on traditional models of care.
Zoom enters the healthcare market - a timeline
Since the pandemic began Zoom has become an integral part of daily life for people working from home, as well as a vital tool for families and friends to communicate. However it's also been eyeing up the healthcare space since 2017, and following the boom in telehealth the company has been rolling out additional services. Here we chart Zoom's move into healthcare.
2011 - 2013
Zoom is founded in San Jose, California, by Eric Yuan, formerly of Cisco. He got the idea to create a video calling platform from his visits to his girlfriend while he was a student, which would take 10 hours by train.
A beta version is released in 2012, which can host up to 15 participants. In 2013 this rises to 25. By mid-2013, Zoom has 1 million users.
2014 - 2017
Zoom attracts investors, including Sequoia Capital, Emergence and Horizon Ventures. By January 2017, Zoom has a series D funding worth $100 million.
2017 - 2019
Zoom for Telehealth launches, including an integration with EHR system Epic. It has cloud-based video, audio, and content sharing features, a "waiting room" for patients, and can easily be integrated into healthcare provider's workflows.
In 2019 Zoom goes public, with its IPO rising 72% in one day.
As a result of the pandemic, Zoom gains 2.2 million new users, more than in the whole of 2019. On the 23rd of March alone - the day the UK lockdown was announced - the platform was downloaded 2.13 million times around the world.
Share prices rise to around $150, and founder and chief executive Eric Yuan becomes one of the world's richest people, with an estimated net worth of $7.9 billion.
Early security issues are addressed by encrypting data with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). By now the the platform allows 99 people to be on a call simultaneously
New features launch, including Zoom Home and Zoom for Chats. Throughout the year the platform is used to replace most kinds of real life events: work meetings, online classrooms, church services and social events.
Renamed Zoom for Healthcare, users can share secured video, audio, and content through desktops, mobile phones, and conference devices. As well as Epic, it can be integrated with Strmr, IntakeQ, and Practice Better.
It can also be used with diagnostic cameras and other point-of-care devices, including digital stethoscopes.
In an interview with Korea Biomedical Review, Zoom Global Healthcare Lead Ron Emerson said: "Our service is not simply a virtual care and telemedicine platform but a multi-purpose platform that can satisfy the needs of healthcare institutions."
"It can be used for administrative tasks, including telemedicine, medical team meetings, recruitment, medical education, employee training, and disease prevention. Analysing electronic records managed by Zoom could provide meaningful insights into patient care."
Phoenix Children's Hospital, Belfast's Hospital Services Limited, Butler Health Services and the global Project ECHO are among Zoom for Healthcare's current customers.