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Virtual Doctor Visits in Your Grocery Store

By Christine Durst & Michael Haaren

Jan. 31, 2013 

Americans may be struggling to pay for health care and get the insurance they need, but at least the medical field is embracing virtual solutions for care and administrative support. In the latest news, kiosks in local grocery stores may soon function as virtual doctors’ offices.

Here’s the story.

A company named HealthSpot is rolling out a telemedicine kiosk that may soon appear in your local grocery or drug store. The blue-and-grey kiosks (you can see one at http://bit.ly/11fGsW9) function as a hobbit-sized doctor’s office. After a medical attendant checks you in, you step into the kiosk and close the door. A doctor or nurse then appears on-screen to guide you through the exam.

The kiosk comes with various equipment – a stethoscope, an otoscope (the funnel-shaped instrument to check ears), scales – which you use under the direction of the doctor or nurse. They receive the data readout or view the problem area on camera, diagnose the ailment, and send a prescription to your local drug store. After each visit, the kiosk and instruments are sanitized for the next patient.

From a telework viewpoint, one of the benefits of the kiosk is that the doctor or nurse can be located anywhere, including a home office. (For more on the kiosks, see http://tcrn.ch/UDBwrq.)

As 70 million or so boomers reach their senior years and Americans increasingly obtain insurance, jobs in health care are growing, and telemedicine reflects this, too.

For example, we regularly see home-based jobs for medical transcriptionists and coders, pharmacists, triage nurses, physician reviewers and radiologists. The need for transcriptionists alone is so great that employers often offer sign-on bonuses of $750 or more.     

A good resource for home-based medical transcription job listings is MTJobs.com. Elsewhere, employers like Precyse Solutions often hire remote transcriptionists, coders and other professionals. (As we write, there are over 30 remote positions in their job listings, at http://careers.precyse.com/.)

Home-based nurse positions can often be found at SironaHealth.com and FONEMED.com. According to FONEMED, their Registered Nurses “provide telephone triage and health advice to callers across North America. We use computerized Schmitt/Thompson triage guidelines to assist in assessing patients’ symptoms. In addition to triage calls, we receive questions requesting information on medical conditions, medications, diagnostic tests, etc.”

When you call a doctor’s office for advice after hours, the call is often routed to a home-based triage nurse like those described above. And as you thank that friendly voice reassuring you about that flu symptom (or diagnosing your problem in that kiosk in the drug store), don’t forget to thank the telework movement, too.

Christine Durst and Michael Haaren are leaders in the work-at-home movement and advocates of de-rat-raced living. Their latest book is Work at Home Now, a guide to finding home-based jobs. They offer additional guidance on finding home-based work at www.RatRaceRebellion.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.


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