This week in Pedersen's POV, our senior editor weighs in on Walmart's expansion into mammogram services.

Amanda Pedersen

March 4, 2024

3 Min Read

Soon you’ll be able to get your melons checked at the same place you shop for, well, melons. That’s right, Walmart has teamed up with RadNet to offer mammograms, beginning with the Walmart Supercenter in Milford, DE.

The breast screening service, called MammogramNow, launched in December, but the collaboration gained national attention this week after being featured on CNN. The service is expected to expand to other Walmart locations this year and does not require a co-pay, a referral, or an appointment (although appointments are available).

MammogramNow_walk-in_clinic.png

I personally do not enjoy shopping at big-box retail stores, and, at the risk of sounding like a retail elitist, Walmart Supercenters have long been at the top of my list of places to avoid at all costs. It’s simply never been an enjoyable experience for me. The parking lot alone is enough to spike my blood pressure, not to mention the crowded aisles and sprawling nature of the store.

So, when I first saw the CNN story, I shuddered at the very idea of getting my next mammogram at a Walmart. That’s the last place I’d want to get my boobs squeezed, I told my husband.

But that was my own privilege speaking. Thinking about it from a healthcare equity perspective, I soon realized how many more American women will have access to this potentially life-saving preventive exam, once MammogramNow is fully launched. There are 3,560 Walmart Supercenters scattered across the United States.

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Heat map showing the number of Walmart Supercenter locations by U.S. state, ranging from 2 in District of Columbia to 391 in Texas

As Dierdre Bell, a Walmart shopper, told CNN, “You come here to get clothes, food, medicine. Why not a mammogram?”

Howard Berger, MD, president and CEO of RadNet, a national radiology company, said the pilot with Walmart is designed to provide greater, more convenient access for women, thus driving better compliance with annual breast cancer screening guidelines.

“The ability to offer leading-edge hardware, software and AI technologies in a non-traditional healthcare location, such as a highly trafficked retail location like a Walmart Supercenter, could become a new paradigm for the future of consumer healthcare and preventative medicine,” Berger said.

All women who visit the center receive tomosynthesis, a type of mammography that uses 3-D images to improve cancer detection. RadNet did not mention specific brand names of its machines, but I recognized the one featured in the CNN piece as a Hologic system, much like the one that was used during my first mammogram.

Women getting mammograms at MammogramNow will also have the option to add DeepHealth artificial intelligence optimization to their breast screening, which has been shown to improve breast cancer detection without adding any time to the exam.

I don’t see myself braving the parking lot at my local Walmart Supercenter when I’m due for my next mammogram. That said, I am a firm believer in the importance of health equity opportunities, and I see the RadNet-Walmart partnership as a major step in that endeavor.

About the Author(s)

Amanda Pedersen

Amanda Pedersen is a veteran journalist and award-winning columnist with a passion for helping medical device professionals connect the dots between the medtech news of the day and the bigger picture. She has been covering the medtech industry since 2006.

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