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The Hartford Courant reports that Connecticut's Hartford Health Care network has partnered with care delivery company OnMed and Ahold Delhaize-owned Stop & Shop to deploy a virtual care platform inside one of the retailer's supermarkets.

According to the story, OnMed says that it "represents an innovative, unique and proactive approach to addressing consumers’ needs for convenient, affordable care while using the latest technology.'

"Hartford HealthCare said medical professionals available through the OnMed Care Station can address '85% of the concerns discussed in a typical primary care visit, including the capture of key vital signs."

On its website, OnMed says that "The OnMed Care Station provides a more personalized virtual care experience and connects patients directly with live certified clinicians whenever they need it. All OnMed Care Stations are available 7 days a week with extended hours and no appointment needed. Every examination is one-on-one in real-time, and we can address 85% of a typical Primary Care visit, including all key biometrics and vitals. Patients can also receive needed Over The Counter (OTC) and most prescription medications at the time of visit."

The platform allows people to enter the enclosed station, located at the front of the store, without an appointment, press "start" to connect with "a certified clinician on live video in real-time," have your vitals taken, including blood pressure, pulse, body temperature and respiration rate and interact with our clinician, and then "walk out with OTC medicine and most prescriptions filled right on the spot, from our secure dispensary … those who need additional care, such as routine cancer screenings, immunizations or help for more complex injuries and illnesses, will be given referrals, according to Hartford HealthCare."

You can find out more about the platform here.

KC's View:

I've seen several stories about similar platforms over the past few months, but this is the first time I've seen one in a supermarket.  I think it is a very smart idea - it allows the retailer to be part of the healthcare continuum, but also cordons off the experience in a way that I think over the long term will create patient confidence while making the store more of a destination.

Good stuff.  It'll be interesting to see if it gets traction and whether Stop  Shop - and other retailers - are proactive in their promotion of the concept.

Interesting to see that just yesterday, TechCrunch reported that Amazon has announced that it is "launching Health Condition Programs, a new initiative that aims to make it easier for people to discover digital health benefits to help manage chronic conditions like prediabetes, diabetes and high blood pressure. Digital health company Omada Health is Amazon’s launch partner for the new initiative.  With the new service, users will be able to check their coverage, apply for programs and manage their chronic condition. Amazon says if a user is covered for specific Health Condition Programs through their health plan or employer, they may have access to connected devices, a personal care team, health coaching, nutrition planning and more."

The story says that Amazon "plans to expand its partnerships with digital health companies to further help customers discover which benefits may be available to them."