At the recent MediFuture conference in Tampa, Guidewell, which owns Florida Blue Health Insurance, revealed something that may replace many services traditionally provided by the family physician.
There are already clinics in some parts of the country that you can pop in to without an appointment, and some pharmacies operate small clinics as well. But now, Guidewell has announced that in a few months they will begin to install mini clinics in Florida that will link up patients with doctors via video.
The nine foot by seven clinic looks a little like a photo booth from the outside. Known as HealthSpot, once you get inside it features a range of equipment you can use to relay information to the doctor. There is a thermometer and a stethoscope as well as other types of medical equipment, all connected to a computer so that the doctor can see the results.
The computer guides you through your check-up and there is a non-virtual trained medical assistant there at the pod to help you if you get stuck. Once you have taken all your vitals then the doctor comes on screen and continues with the diagnosis.
The first HealthSpot booth is due to arrive in South Florida later on in the year and it is hoped that it will help to reduce costs in the health care field. In addition it should make life easier for patients as it will allow greater accessibility and convenience than a conventional doctor’s visit.
Analysts believe that these types of clinic will revolutionize the provision of health care and they expect they will become the norm over the next decade. However not everyone believes they will suit the whole population, as older patients have shown resistance during trials and others have raised concerns about privacy issues.