With winter coming, it’s inevitable: One of these mornings, you’re going to wake up sick. But instead of trying to persuade your doctor’s office to squeeze you in, what if you could make an appointment, see a doctor, and be on the path to wellness right away? Better yet, what if this appointment was somewhere convenient—like the lobby of your office building?
If the Ohio-based company HealthSpot has its way, this scenario is going to be a reality in the very near future. The company has developed kiosks called HealthSpot stations that allow doctors to see patients remotely—a virtual experience that nevertheless has tangible results and a variety of potential applications, from saving parents trips to the ER with their kids to allowing rural residents quicker access to healthcare.
Designed by the Cleveland-based design firm Nottingham Spirk, the private stations—which are nine by seven feet—include a large video screen, a touchscreen, and a variety of medical devices from a stethoscope to a pulse oximeter. When a patient enters the kiosk, doctors appear on the video screen in real-time and direct patients to check their own vitals. Depending on what’s found, the doctor may call in a prescription—or order a patient back to bed.
So far, there are six of these HealthSpot kiosks in greater Cleveland, including one just opened by University Hospitals’ Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. Cuyahoga County also recently installed a kiosk in its downtown Cleveland Justice Center, which is staffed by employees from MetroHealth Medical Center. According to Elise Hara, director of HR and Employment Counsel at Cuyahoga County, the addition of this kiosk reflects how they’re always looking for new ways to try to “stabilize and reduce the usage of sick time” of employees.
“The idea is being able to facilitate someone’s decision-making process in saying, ‘Okay, you know what? I can just run across the street at lunch, see if I have a temperature, and get a prescription, right then and there,’” Hara says. “That seemed to make a lot of sense in terms of ensuring that our population would be ill for less time, because they’d catch it sooner.”
HealthSpot was recently recognized as the “Small Business of the Year” in the second-annual Innovation Entrepreneur Awards (IEA) by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. Of course, the real proof that these stations are successful comes from the mouths of satisfied HealthSpot customers.
“Quite frankly, you don’t feel good, you just want to get in and get out so you can get home and get to the couch,” patient Jason Weimer told the Plain Dealer. “I thought it was pretty revolutionary.”