Grocery stores opening AI-powered health clinics

Safeway stores in Arizona are opening health clinics that combine AI, augmented reality and telemedicine to offer grocery shoppers a convenient way to be seen for illnesses and injuries.  

The clinics are part of an existing joint venture between telehealth company Akos and AI/augmented reality innovator AdviNow Medical. The pair’s move into Safeway, which operates 106 stores in Arizona, expands the concept.

The Arizona Republic covered the development at its online outlet AZCentral.

“Patients go into exam rooms on their own and a computerized program guides them through providing key physical information using FDA-approved wireless devices that can collect medical measurements such as temperature, ear, nose and throat images; chest sounds via a stethoscope; and blood pressure and blood oxygen content,” reported health writer Stephanie Innes.

To come up with an initial diagnosis and treatment recommendation, AdivNow’s AI combs a medical database that includes findings recently published in the medical literature. Then an Akos clinician working in the company’s headquarters or elsewhere considers the automated observations, makes a final diagnosis and prescribes treatment.

Most major insurance plans cover the visits, and the pricing is competitive with traditional walk-in clinics for patients who choose to self-pay.

Meanwhile, the newspaper reported, the AI clinics can turn a profit seeing 10 to 15 patients a day.

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