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New investor backs SoloHealth wellness kiosk project

The developer of popular DVD rental and coin-counting kiosks is taking on the healthcare field with an investment in SoloHealth, which is working on a self-service kiosk that would screen vision, blood pressure, weight and body mass index and provide a free health assessment.

Atlanta-based SoloHealth will receive an investment from Coinstar, Inc., the Bellevue, Wash.-based developer of the Redbox self-service DVD rental kiosks and Coinstar self-service coin-counting brands. Details of the investment were not made public.

SoloHealth entered the healthcare field four years ago with the EyeSite vision kiosk, now available in more than 100 retail sites across the country. The company is in the development stages for its SoloHealth Station kiosk, and received a $1.2 million grant last summer from the National Institutes for Health, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services.

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"We are thrilled to have the support of Coinstar, a leader in automated retail," said Bart Foster, SoloHealth’s chief executive officer and founder, in a press release. "We live in a self-service society, and with the current environment, we believe SoloHealth's platforms will provide a tremendous resource for consumers and the entire healthcare system by reducing healthcare costs, increasing access and empowering people to take action to improve their lives."

In an interview last summer, Foster said his company’s bilingual kiosks are the next generation of the blood pressure machines now seen in almost every pharmacy and supermarket. After developing the EyeSite kiosk to target vision problems, he said, the company is expanding the kiosk to tackle hypertension and obesity – all of which form the basis for an effective preventive health and wellness screening platform.

Foster said the SoloHealth Station would be deployed in high-traffic environments like grocery stores, pharmacies, large employers and other public locations and would be aimed at people who might not otherwise have these screenings done.

“As a leader in automated retail, Coinstar is continually looking for kiosk concepts that are innovative and compelling," added Gregg Kaplan, Coinstar’s president and chief operating officer. "We believe that SoloHealth will address the changing market dynamics in the healthcare space by bringing free health and wellness screening to individuals who may not have accessed it otherwise."

Coinstar operates roughly 30,200 Redbox kiosks and 18,900 coin-counting kiosks in the United States.