Can’t get in to see the doctor for three months? A new option for basic checkup tests, requiring a much shorter wait list, may soon be available to you, depending on where in the U.S. you live. Starting in March, 2013, Walmart and Sam’s Club stores are set to roll out 2,5000 self-service health kiosks across the nation.
At the machines, which were developed by Georgia-based SoloHealth, shoppers will be able to access free basic medical tests of their eyesight, blood pressure, body-mass index (BMI), and weight. The move marks an interesting further push into primary care on the part of Walmart, which already boasts retail medical clinics as well as growing pharmacies.
According to Kaiser Health News, some consumer protection groups as well as doctor groups, are asking questions about whether advertisers will inform the advice that is provided, about the caliber of the health information given, and about the privacy of any personal health data that may be collected in a series of questions posed to users.
Users see advertisements for anything from yogurt to prescription drugs pop up in front of their eyes while they use the free screening tool, and, if they give their email addresses, will receive their test results in an email.
Future offerings that the company reportedly hopes to make available through the kiosk include smoking cessation tips and advice, diabetes risk assessment, and the ability to enroll in health coverage. Users can now call up a list of up to 30 local doctors on the machines, whose credential, according to Kaiser, are not independently reviewed.
These DIY medical checkup kiosks are only the latest in a spate of hospitals, online clinics, and portable cubicles offering pay-per-visit video consultations with doctors starting at 10 minutes. Oh, the times, they are a-changing.
Would You consult a kiosk for medical information while shopping at Walmart or Sam’s Club?