Health systems are increasingly looking to make health care more convenient for patients, and a recent partnership between Clearwater, Fla.-based BayCare Health System and local supermarket chain Publix will soon allow consumers to grocery shop and manage their health under the same roof.
As part of the partnership, BayCare is extending its investment in telehealth by creating 25 Walk-In Care telehealth centers in four Publix locations — in Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough and Polk counties — within the next two years, with the first center opening this December.
Each visit will cost $45 and will be conducted in a private telehealth kiosk connected virtually to board-certified physicians for non-urgent medical care visits. Publix Pharmacy support staff will be available to assist patients. Medical instruments such as thermometers, otoscopes, blood pressure cuffs and high-definition cameras will be attached to the kiosks.
The Walk-In Care centers will use the same BayCareAnywhere telehealth platform that the Florida health system has been using for the past year that allows patients to “visit” providers via an app on the patient’s electronic device.
“We’re trying to take a more consumer-oriented approach to delivering health care, and trying to determine how to best meet consumer needs, and we feel telehealth is something that would resonate with consumers,” says Glenn Waters, executive vice president and chief operating officer at BayCare.
As part of this collaboration, BayCare is rebranding and upgrading the self-service biometric screening stations already located in Publix stores. These kiosks, now BayCare HealthHubs, are already up and running and allow consumers to measure their weight, body mass index, blood pressure and pulse and to access free health information.
The hubs will soon be equipped to enable patients to securely send their biometric information from the device directly to their doctor through an interface with BayCare’s systemwide electronic medical record, a feature that is currently being rolled out in phases, according to Waters.
Waters believes the partnership will make care more available to consumers and will help prevent costly readmissions of patients with chronic conditions whose biometric data can be monitored fairly consistently.
“We’ve been trying to figure ways to try all different technologies, and different ways of connecting with consumers. … We realized that it [partnership] could be a win-win for both organizations and the community,” Waters says.