HealthSpot Full Patient Visit Kiosk at CES

Posted on January 8, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

For those of you who also read EMR and HIPAA, you know that this week I’ll be attending CES and the Digital Health Summit.

Today I stopped by the convention center and got an early look at the incredible setup that’s going on to make the CES show happen. By all accounts, I expect this to be as big and crazy as any CES show I’ve attended. Plus, I got an early look at the Health Spot kiosk which is stationed in the lobby between the central and north halls of CES. I’m glad I went today, because I’m sure that kiosk is going to be crazy the next 3 days.

With that said, I’d suggest that anyone in healthcare take the chance to stop by the HealthSpot kiosk. HealthSpot is taking on an enormous challenge. They’ve created a kiosk that provides a whole suite of medical tools and an online connection to a remote doctor. It’s a fascinating mix of medical technology to try and make the patient visit a much smoother experience for the patient.
HealthSpot Station
One use case that I found really fascinating is having a HealthSpot kiosk located in a hospital ED. In many cases one hospital ED might have a long line of patients waiting to be seen while their other hospital ED or quick care center across town might be sitting empty. Instead of making the patient wait or get sent across town to be seen, the patients can use the HealthSpot kiosk to be seen by an available doctor in the other hospital’s ED across town. It’s a fascinating use of technology to try and utilize the available medical resources across a health system.

There are a number of other use cases with one of the biggest being in retail pharmacies. Many have already started going to their local pharmacy for shots. It’s not hard to see retail pharmacies supporting some sort of office visit as well. If the price is right and the access to the doctor is more streamlined than your regular office visit, then this could become a common option. Plus, you can imagine that the price will be good since it’s a way for the retail pharmacy to get you as a customer. Once your HealthSpot visit is done, the pharmacy will have your prescription waiting for you before you leave. At least that’s what HealthSpot envisions happening.

Although, that’s really only the beginning of what HealthSpot hopes to achieve. HealthSpot isn’t selling these devices to other organizations. Instead, they still own the HealthSpot kiosks and plan to have a network of HealthSpot kiosks across the nation that are available to patients. In fact, they showed me a mobile app they’re developing that will allow someone to book an appointment with a doctor at a HealthSpot kiosk right from their mobile phone. In many ways it reminded me of how I reserve a RedBox movie from my mobile phone. I choose the movie and then find the nearest RedBox that has that movie. Replace movie with doctor visit and RedBox with HealthSpot and you get the basic idea.

Yes, they do have protocols in the mobile app and the kiosk that are defined by the providers to ensure that the HealthSpot kiosk visits are ones that can be treated through the kiosk interface. For example, I couldn’t book a HealthSpot kiosk visit for chest pain.

It seemed to me that HealthSpot still needed to work on the workflow for office visits that didn’t fit into a HealthSpot kiosk visit. They didn’t have the chest pain option. If I’m really experiencing chest pain, I’m likely to just choose another option if chest pain is not available and just wait until the visit to tell the doctor my real reason for the visit. This seems like an accident waiting to happen. Instead, I think HealthSpot should offer chest pain as an option. Then, if a patient selects it, they get a message to call 911 immediately (or some similar clinical protocol). I expect these types of issues will be worked out as HealthSpot refines the clinical workflows with their beta customers.

One part of HealthSpot that’s hard to describe in a blog post is how the patient kiosk handles the medical devices. First, a medical attendant (similar to an MA or front desk staff I’d assume) is their to assist a patient through the visit as needed. The kiosk has doors that fall open to present various medical devices such as a: Blood Pressure Cuff, Dermascope, Otoscope, Pulse Oximeter, Stethoscope, and Thermometer. Each of the devices is made available to the patient as needed by the doctor who is doing the visit remotely via video for the visit.

This video will also help to demonstrate how the HealthSpot kiosk works:

I’m sure that many are wondering about the cleaning and sanitizing that is provided for the kiosk. After the visit, the medical attendant is provided a check list of items that need to be cleaned, replaced and sanitized. Plus, the kiosk has a UV light that can clean and sanitize the kiosk similar to what is used in surgeries to clean instruments.

Like I said, it’s an experience that’s hard to explain in words. So, stop by the HealthSpot kiosk at CES to see what I mean. I also believe they’ll be at HIMSS in March where you can see it as well.

I’d of course be remiss if I didn’t talk about its connection with EHR software. They don’t plan on having HealthSpot be the full EHR. Instead they plan to integrate HealthSpot data with outside EHR software. Considering how casually they talked about integrating the HealthSpot data into an EHR, I’m pretty sure they haven’t started down that road. Maybe they have some in house expertise that has dealt with the challenge of this before, but I think they’re in for a big surprise as they try to get their HealthSpot data into EHR software. It should be academic, but it certainly is not.

Obviously, there is a lot that goes into the HealthSpot kiosk experience and I’ve only covered a few pieces of it. Like I said, they’ve chosen to take on an enormous challenge. I’ll just point out one other challenge: reimbursement for the visit. I was assured that HealthSpot has talked with all the payers and the payers are looking at the HealthSpot patient visit experience much more like an office visit than a telemedicine visit. We’ll see how that works over time and how the new e-visit laws effect this, but I expect that any changes to e-visit laws will benefit someone like HealthSpot.