Healthcare Technology Featured Article

July 21, 2015

HealthSpot Telemedicine Kiosks Kick Off Rite Aid Rollout


HealthSpot has announced the impending rollout of its first 25 telemedicine kiosks throughout Northeast Ohio. The kiosks will be installed inside Rite Aids throughout the region.

It’s the brainchild of tech entrepreneur Steve Cashman. According to Cleaveland.com, Cashman partnered with Cleveland design firm Nottingham Spirk to co-develop the 40-square-foot stations, which offer access to remote medical care for simple issues and basic wellness checks. Each machine comes equipped with a stethoscope, an otoscope, a pulse oximeter and a magnascope, and uses the data from these as well as videoconferencing links with physicians to answer patient questions and perform diagnostics.

As Cleveland.com reports, customers ages three and older can be treated for minor and common health conditions, including cold and flu, rashes and skin conditions, ear-aches and seasonal allergies. A record of the visit is maintained for both customers and healthcare providers, and ingeniously, the software also interfaces with insurance eligibility, electronic medical records and billing systems.

“Our goal is to put these kiosks all across the United States,” Cashman said. “We want them as prominent as ATM's."

There are many upsides to the approach that may help spur the machines’ demand and acceptance. The kiosks have been in a soft-launch phase since May, and during that time, they have already served 5,000 customers. Many of those users have been Medicaid recipients, and the cost benefits speak for themselves: Instead of a potential $600 emergency room visit, Medicaid insurance companies pay about $60.

"A lot of people don't have access to a doctor, so they're using the emergency room for their care when they're sick," Cashman told Cleveland.com. "Ultimately the ER is a very expensive place to be if you only have a simple issue such as an ear infection."

Cashman worked with Kaiser Permanente, the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic to test the kiosks for about 18 months, installing them in about 10 urgent care centers and hospital lobbies. According to the initial statistics, the kiosks boast 98 percent patient satisfaction, and 99 percent doctor satisfaction.

"Frankly telemedicine and telehealth has been evolving in the last several years,” said Robert Thompson, executive vice president of pharmacy at Rite Aid. “A number of companies throughout the United States are trying to develop online solutions, but HealthSpot, we thought was at a level above others.”




Edited by Dominick Sorrentino





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