What Is A Telemedicine Kiosk and How Does It Work?

What Is a Telemedicine Kiosk and How Does It Work

Even less than ten years ago, telemedicine was mainly used in hospitals and clinics to consult doctors in difficult cases. But today, telemedicine is becoming an increasingly common way for patients to receive routine care at home or where they have a mobile phone or personal computer.

In the past few years, an increasing number of employers in Europe and the United States have begun to provide insurance for the use of telemedicine services, where an employee can contact a doctor by phone using a video call. One of the limitations of this way of seeing a doctor is the inability to get vital signs such as blood pressure and pulse. Therefore, telemedicine kiosks have a number of advantages in this regard.

American employers and insurers are looking at telemedicine kiosks as a way to provide medical assistance to staff with the least loss of productivity due to the time spent by an employee on going to doctors.

What is a telemedicine kiosk?

These are health modules. Their main target audience is residents of all regions who do not have a chance to receive a high-quality doctor’s consultation in person. The cabin has all the necessary equipment for this purpose, including blood pressure monitors, thermometers, stethoscopes and, most importantly, video communication with a doctor who will be able to make a preliminary diagnosis, give recommendations or even provide an ambulance.

Telemedicine is no different from conventional healthcare. Any service that is provided on the territory of the USA requires licensing, and, accordingly, the use of certified equipment within the walls of a medical facility.

A telemedicine kiosk is a state-of-the-art remote consultation solution that is licensed to operate and the equipment inside. Telemedicine kiosks can be a cost-effective way of delivering therapeutic counseling that can increase productivity and reduce doctor absenteeism, as well as a chance to:

  • provide information services;
  • give recommendations on the prevention of diseases, the effectiveness of drugs;
  • conduct employee training, webinars;
  • brand premises, place advertisements;
  • include a robotic pharmacy.

They are designed to be installed almost anywhere: at a pharmacy, university campus or airport, on the street and even on a car base.

Tasks to be solved:

  • automation of customer service centers and reduction of personnel costs;
  • a competitive advantage providing visual contact with the patient;
  • redirecting requests to the most qualified specialists, regardless of their location;
  • reduction in the area of the reception office and savings in rent;
  • providing citizens with hearing and speech disabilities with high-quality and timely consultations;
  • reduction of waiting time for receiving medical assistance during peak hours.

Anthem, one of the largest US insurers, has installed 34 telemedicine kiosks for 20 employers in the past 18 months. Kiosks are a good alternative for large employers who tend to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars setting up corporate clinics. This technology should make it more accessible to different employers regardless of their size.

HealthSpot kiosks have been designed specifically for installation in supermarkets, pharmacies, and medical waiting rooms. These kiosks have been equipped with everything needed to provide a private environment for remote consultation with a doctor. Patients using this technique were able to communicate with the doctor in real-time using high-definition video equipment. Moreover, the kiosks were equipped with digital medical devices that allowed the doctor to collect medical information during a remote visit. In particular, this is a cuff pressure meter, Duane Reade thermometer, stethoscope, dermoscope, otoscope, pulse oximeter (Walgreens pulse oximeter reviews are mostly positive), as well as digital scales built into the kiosk.

Kiosks are typically used for the same conditions that make people see a doctor – colds, sore throats, coughs, earaches, and conjunctivitis. Physicians or nurse practitioners working in the telemedicine system can write pharmacy prescriptions. Employees usually either pay nothing, or pay no more than $15 per session, but this is much less than they would pay for insurance if they went to a doctor’s office, used an emergency room or an ambulance.

How it works

The computer contains data collected from all known medical research. Artificial intelligence and certain algorithms embedded in it at the training stage are able to process more than 600 thousand documents in a few seconds. Based on this, the system gives out treatment options based on the most accurate analysis of symptoms. In addition, the information base can be updated instantly, provided there is constant communication with the portals, which host the latest studies.

These types of solutions allow healthcare providers to monitor patient vital signs and other health information from a distance. They help provide a person with timely advice and quickly intervene in the treatment process if necessary.

World experience

  • In the USA and Europe, telemedicine kiosks are used mainly by insurance companies due to the high cost of medical services;
  • For example, the cost of consultation at a telemedicine kiosk implies an additional payment of $15-20 by a corporation employee through the kiosk terminal;
  • One insurance company installs 30-40 kiosks per year in the regional offices of large corporations
  • The cost of a kiosk depends on the configuration and varies from $15,000 to $60,000;
  • The demand for telemedicine kiosks in Europe and the USA is generated not only by insurance companies but also by consumers of medical services who find the cost of permanent insurance or a one-time visit to a doctor is too high.

Despite the growing number of telemedicine kiosks, it is not yet clear if they will be supplanted by smartphones, tablets or computers, allowing people to get medical care anywhere with Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity. Medical kiosk users can be diagnosed remotely by a doctor since the kiosks are equipped with basic medical diagnostic tools such as blood pressure monitors, thermometers, heart rate monitors and other means for examining the eye, ear and oral cavity. Instrument readings are immediately available to a doctor or paramedic.

The only drawback of telemedicine kiosks is the price, so they are not available for most employers.

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