You’re sick. You have limited choices to get medical advice. You can contact your doctor’s office and hope that they can fit you in soon. Or you can go to the local hospital’s emergency room (which is a poor use of those scarce resources). What if there was a way to get an exam with a physician right now, near you? It might even be available where you work!
That’s the concept behind a medical kiosk that uses telehealth services to connect patients with physicians and other healthcare professionals. OnMed recently announced the OnMed Station, a self-contained health kiosk that can even dispense prescription medications.
The system has an impressive list of features that includes the ability to gather standard physical exam data: height, weight, temperature, blood pressure, respiration rate, and blood oxygen levels. Connected devices provide visual and audio inspection of body parts such as the ear canal, eyes, or throat using HD video, including a screen so that the patient can see what the doctor sees. Data transfer is protected by HIPAA-compliant security. And if a prescription medicine is required, the booth is able to provide any of hundreds of common medications.
The glass booth has walls that turn opaque during an exam for privacy. The booth uses special air filtration and anti-bacterial surfaces to prevent transfer of infections, and the entire booth is bathed with disinfecting ultraviolet light between exams.
The result is more efficient access to professional medical services with little or no wait time, reduced travel time, and lower cost than alternatives. This is an interesting middle ground between home telehealth and having to go to a traditional clinical setting. This should lead to illness being identified and treated sooner, with less time wasted by patients and less productivity loss for employers.