SoloHealth’s Self-Service Health Kiosk

Not sure I would say this is a solution to our healthcare problems! However, I am curious to see how well these kiosks will do.

ATLANTA, Ga., Oct. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — SoloHealth®, a consumer-driven healthcare technology company, announced today it has closed $8.2 million in a round led by healthcare IT industry veteran and founder of HBOC, Walter Huff. SoloHealth has so far raised nearly $13 million, including an undisclosed amount from Coinstar, Inc., owner of Redbox DVD kiosks, as well as a $1.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The news comes as SoloHealth prepares for a nationwide rollout in 2012 of its next-generation health and wellness kiosks, the SoloHealth Stationâ„¢, with the goal of replacing many of the 25,000 out-dated blood pressure machines found today in retail locations nationwide.

“We are excited and energized to announce this additional round of funding as we enter into a pivotal and opportunistic time in our business with the planned nationwide rollout of our award-winning SoloHealth Station,” said Bart Foster, CEO & Founder of SoloHealth. “We’ve had a tremendously positive response from all the audiences that the SoloHealth Station touches – consumers, retailers, health and wellness marketers, and the healthcare industry. We are quite bullish on our future and our ability to contribute towards a healthier, more efficient American healthcare system.”

“The current state of our healthcare system, political environment, technological advancements, and consumer mindset makes it quite literally a perfect time for the introduction of the SoloHealth Station to capitalize on the emerging market,” said Huff. “I see tremendous opportunity for SoloHealth to become a perennial gateway and platform as consumer’s look to take charge of their health and work towards a healthier America overall.”

Currently in select U.S. test markets and retail locations, SoloHealth’s next-generation, comprehensive SoloHealth Station will screen vision, blood pressure, weight, and body mass index, and provide an overall health assessment free of charge. It also gives consumers access to a database of local doctors. The company plans to provide highly personalized and interactive healthcare opportunities for consumers, advertisers and retailers by placing kiosks in high-traffic retail locations and connecting them to SoloHealth’s multi-platform ecosystem across retail, online/digital, mobile and emerging platforms.

SoloHealth executives also announced growth statistics, noting it had tripled its Atlanta workforce since January, adding jobs in IT, Sales, Finance, Operations, and HR. The company also plans to hire approximately 50 additional staff during next 18 months including a CFO, Marketing Director and Ad Sales executives, effective immediately.

ABOUT SOLOHEALTH: Based in Atlanta, Ga., SoloHealth® is a leader in self-service consumer healthcare, utilizing technology to develop and deploy interactive health screening kiosks, as well as other platforms, in an effort to empower consumers about their health through awareness, education and action. The award-winning company’s first offering was the EyeSite Vision kiosk, currently located in select retail outlets and markets nationwide. In summer 2010, the company received a $1.2 M grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to help enable innovation for self-service healthcare and prevention. In 2011, SoloHealth announced its next-generation kiosk, the SoloHealth Station, offering vision, blood pressure, weight, and body mass index; receive an overall health assessment; and access a database of local doctors. The company’s bilingual kiosks provide free health screenings and recommendations for follow-up care, which leads to prevention and lower health care costs. For more information, visit www.solohealth.com.

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Tough Times Prompt Patients to Skip Care

By BENJAMIN BREWER, M.D.

With gas prices hovering around $4 a gallon, my patients are cutting back on medical care.

A 59-year-old woman decided not to have a mammogram this year. At her age, she should be screened for colon cancer, too, but she is holding off until she becomes eligible for Medicare at 65.

Despite having some medical insurance as a self-employed cleaning woman, she is pinching pennies by scrimping on preventive care. If she develops cancer of the colon or breast she won’t have saved anything. This year she is taking her chances. 
 
Rising deductibles, stiff drug co-payments and increasing prices for just about everything are forcing some hard choices about health. Care that doesn’t strike patients as critical is getting delayed. As the economy squeezes my patients, they are showing up sicker.

A patient quit smoking so he could afford gas for the 40 mile commute to work in a packaging plant. He has been living paycheck to paycheck for years and his rent just went up. I was glad that something finally motivated him to stop smoking.

The bad news was that he came to the office with severe pneumonia two days after refusing to let an E.R. doctor admit him to the hospital. My patient was afraid of the expense and all the time he would go without pay from work.

To make matters worse, he didn’t fill the antibiotic prescription he was given either. The $50 co-payment was unaffordable, he said. This is a case when an insurer would have been better off picking up the antibiotic tab to avoid a larger expense. But there’s no easy way for a doctor to override a plan’s co-pay or to let an insurer know its rules are about to make something very expensive happen.

When the patient came to see me, his condition had deteriorated. I persuaded him to let me admit him to the local hospital. He was in such bad shape that he was soon transferred to the ICU of a large medical center. His care will end up costing tens of thousands of dollars.

It was no surprise to me to read recently that claims severity and costs for health insurers took an unexpected jump this year. Many patients are not able to bear even a moderate expense to save their insurance companies the cost of major claims.

A 53-year-old patient couldn’t avoid a trip to see me when his finger was fractured in a log splitter. After X-rays and having his fingertip sutured together, the man required several trips to the office for dressing changes and monitoring for infection.

He’s been unable to work as a laborer in the month since he got hurt. With no money coming in, he’s racked up $200 in office co-payments for visits that his insurance won’t be covering. We’re carrying his balance until he can get back to work.

He isn’t the only one in arrears. As a result of lean times, accounts receivable from uninsured patients in my practice is trending up. About 5% of our patients are uninsured.

Patients are still having babies at the same rate. But elective procedures, preventive exams and compliance with prescriptions are all down.

Some of my patients are taking themselves off medications. Just last week I encountered patients who stopped their cholesterol medication and urinary incontinence medications. I’m getting fewer refill requests for E.D. drugs, like Viagra, too.

I noticed an uptick in patients canceling appointments and just not showing up over the last few weeks. More people are asking for advice over the phone and trying to avoid an office visit.

Many of our patients travel 20 or 30 miles to see us, and I think gas prices are affecting no-show and cancellation rates, particularly with low income patients.

My total number of office visits is off 5% from last year. Another indication of the slowdown is that I’m getting my nursing home rounds done. I’m pretty well caught up on my daily deluge of paperwork, too. When things are busy, I almost never get those things accomplished.

It occurred to me in an idle moment that I would be a lot busier if the $600 government stimulus checks had been spent on a basket of basic primary care services. That would have paid for 130 million people to have had most of their health needs met for a year. Instead, folks around here seem to be spending more on $4 gas.

 

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It’s The Question(s) That We Seek

health savings accountThe uniqueness of our Healthcare Delivery System leads one to think we have the “best” Health Care Delivery system in the world.

Great scholars spend much time trying to find the “answer” to what is wrong with our “Healthcare Delivery System”, when it is the Question(s) that we should be seeking. The major two questions are “How Can I Stay Healthy?” and “How can I stay Healthy at a Reasonable Cost?

The Money that we save on being/staying healthy can then be avaliable to enjoy when we reach the age of enjoyment.

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