Wal-Mart to Discuss Health-Care Logistics

Carolyn Walton, vice president of information systems at Wal-Mart, will explain the research goals of a new research project the retailer is funding.
Published: April 12, 2007

Businesses and individuals in the United States are suffering from the high cost of health care. The industry has an inefficient supply chain, and Wal-Mart believes it can help by funding research into how the health-care supply chain can be more efficient. The retailer has pledged $1 million over five years to create the Center for Innovation in Health-Care Logistics, a research initiative that will run out of the University of Arkansas (see Wal-Mart, Univ. of Ark., Blue Cross to Create Research Center for Health-Care Logistics).

The center will research how technology can be used to improve logistics within the four walls of a medical facility, as well as the entire supply chain that moves drugs, medical equipment and information to and from medical facilities. Carolyn Walton, vice president information systems at Wal-Mart, will explain the research goals of the new research project during the RFID Academic Convocation being held in conjunction with RFID Journal LIVE! 2007.

The session will be moderated by Bill Hardgrave, director of the RFID Research Center at the University of Arkansas, and will also feature Ron Bone, senior VP of distribution planning at McKesson Corp.; Leslie Hand, director of global RFID strategy at Ahold USA; and Mike Rose, VP of RFID/EPC global value chain at Johnson & Johnson.

This gathering represents an opportunity for vendors and researchers to interact with some of the leading players in the health-care sector to discuss what types of research projects need to be undertaken to solve some of the issues in the health-care supply chain. The focus of the research is not all on RFID, but RFID will play an important part.

It will be interesting to see what end users perceive to be the biggest opportunities for using technology in the health-care supply chain, and where they perceive the technological obstacles. I’ve no doubt those obstacles can be overcome and the opportunities can be seized if more companies stepped up to fund research initiatives, as Wal-Mart has.