Telemedicine continues to go mainstream as more pharmacy chains introduce remote consults within corner drug stores.
NewYork-Presbyterian and Walgreens are collaborating to offer remote access to NYP physicians on Walgreens' website and at self-service kiosks at select Walgreens-owned Duane Reade drugstores in New York -- while CVS has a similar arrangement with the Cleveland Clinic.
This builds on Walgreens' efforts already underway with telehealth provider MDLive in dozens of states where customers can access U.S. board-certified doctors, 24 hours a day, on Walgreens' site. Often these professionals are located in the same communities as the Walgreens' customers.
The first NewYork-Presbyterian NYP OnDemand kiosk has opened at the Duane Reade store at 40 Wall Street in Manhattan. More locations will open in 2018. The kiosks are located in private rooms within the stores and offer examination, diagnosis and treatment of non-life threatening illnesses and injuries via NewYork-Presbyterian's OnDemand Urgent Care program.
Patients simply touch a button to make contact with board-certified Weill Cornell Medicine emergency medicine physicians, who conduct patient examinations through a high-definition video conference. At the end of the exam, if a physician writes a prescription, it can be sent to the patient's preferred pharmacy.
Pediatric emergency medicine physicians also will be available during more limited hours. Physicians from ColumbiaDoctors are expected to join the program early next year.
The kiosks also feature medical devices including a forehead thermometer, a blood pressure cuff and a pulse oximeter that measures the amount of oxygen in the body. A dermascope, which allows the provider to see a high-resolution view of skin conditions, also is available.
In addition to the kiosks, Walgreens customers in the New York area using the Walgreens website can access NYP OnDemand Urgent Care to video chat with emergency physicians.
Meanwhile, over at CVS, customers at their corner CVS Health MinuteClinics in Ohio can access clinicians at the Cleveland Clinic via online and mobile telehealth technology from vendor American Well.
"It's a way for Cleveland Clinic to extend our reach and serve more people who need help," said Cleveland Clinic medical director of distance health Peter Rasmussen, MD. "We believe that it is important to remove barriers to care like time, travel and distance, and we're making that possible through this partnership."
The organizations see the telehealth program as helping patients with non-emergency care needs such as coughs, rashes and infections, as well as patients with ongoing, chronic conditions to manage, such as diabetes.