In the latest alliance between a food retailer and a healthcare provider, Giant Eagle and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) have teamed up to add video conferencing kiosks in stores in the pharmacy area of three Giant Eagle stores in the Pittsburgh area.
The new UPMC AnywhereCare kiosks—which will be available for use by anyone in Pennsylvania, regardless of their insurance status—will connect patients within minutes to UPMC clinicians for treatment of minor illnesses and will provide convenient access for the retailer’s customers and the communities it serves.
The healthcare kiosks will be located in existing private consultation rooms next to Giant Eagle pharmacies and will be initially available in Giant Eagle stores at the Waterworks Shopping Plaza, 910 Freeport Road, nearby the retailer’s headquarters in Fox Chapel; the Waterfront store at 420 East Waterfront Drive, Homestead; and at 4010 Monroeville Blvd., Monroeville.
Patients ages 3 and older can access the kiosk’s video camera for virtual diagnoses and treatment of a variety of nonurgent symptoms, such as sore throats and earaches. A UPMC healthcare professional will assess the patient’s symptoms and recommend a treatment plan just as they would in a traditional office visit. Clinicians will available via the kiosks during regular in-store pharmacy hours at participating Giant Eagle stores.
Giant Eagle may expand the AnywhereCare kiosks to additional locations in the future if deemed successful, according to Adam Zakin, senior director of new business development for Giant Eagle Pharmacy.
“We believe convenient access to medical care is lacking in certain geographical areas and are hoping that by piloting these services in our stores, our communities will receive the care they need at their convenience, including nights and weekends,” Zakin said in a statement. “Serving and caring for our community has been our mission and the core of our business for over 80 years.”
“As the name says, we want our world-renowned UPMC care to be available to our patients anywhere, including the grocery store, where they might already be looking for over-the-counter remedies,” said Natasa Sokolovich, executive director of telehealth for UPMC, in a release. “With UPMC AnywhereCare already available on smartphones, tablets and personal computers, our partnership with Giant Eagle is one more way to make our high-quality care accessible to patients when and where they want it.”
Giant Eagle pharmacists and technicians are available to help patients gain familiarity with the kiosks and peripheral devices that will be available during the virtual visits for those who might need them, such as blood pressure cuffs, thermometers and otoscopes.
Publix Super Markets late last year rolled out similar on-demand healthcare kiosks operated by BayCare Health System, the parent company of Winter Haven Hospital and Bartow Regional Medical Center. The Lakeland, Fla.-based retailer’s BayCare Anywhere healthcare teleconferencing service is available in 17 stores in central Florida. At the time of the launch of the BayCare Anywhere kiosks, Publix said it intended to install at least 25 walk-in telehealth clinics within two years.