Doc in a Big, Blue Box

Curtis Franklin Jr., Executive Editor | 1/11/2013 | 38 comments

Curtis Franklin Jr.
A blue-and-white plastic box may be the key to long life and improved health for millions of underserved people. IT is making it possible.

The box, a phone-booth-sized kiosk called the HealthSpot Station, is designed for providers to offer basic diagnostic services and consultation with a licensed physician to individuals who might be many miles (and many more dollars) removed from any reasonable standard of healthcare. With a simple AC power connection and basic Internet access, the kiosk will enable patients to see and talk with a doctor via teleconference while the doctor receives the results of basic diagnostics.

Armed with the information, the doctor can issue prescriptions for drugs and treatment, or refer the patient for additional consultation with a specialist for cases that require more in-depth examination.

HealthSpot Station

According to the press release issued by HealthSpot at CES 2013 in Las Vegas, the instrumentation covers a number of areas:

    Inside the HealthSpot Station, a scale built into the floor records weight. With the push of a button, the doctor can unlock small cabinets that hold high-tech, digital medical devices that transmit information, audio, video and pictures back to them through a secured connectivity FDA Medical Device Data System. A removable cuff captures blood pressure. An instant-read thermometer is behind one door. A dermascope provides a magnified view of rashes and skin conditions, as well as the back of your throat or eye. If you have an earache, the doctor asks you to slip the otoscope into your ear as you both look at a high-resolution image of the inside of your ear on the screen in front of you. The stethoscope transmits heart, lung and bowel sounds digitally. The pulse oximeter is used to take the patient’s pulse and monitor oxygen saturation of the blood.

Stepping into the Healthspot Station, I was struck by how private it seemed (the door closes you off from the surrounding area, though there's enough room inside the station for a companion to join the patient). It looked as if it would be easy to sterilize all the kiosk's surfaces.

In an interview with E2, Rob Shelton, a spokesman for HealthSpot, said that any provider using the kiosk would have an attendant clean the inside of the unit after every patient visit. Pointing to a touchscreen in the unit, he said, "After each visit, a checklist comes up with a series of steps the attendant must take to prepare the kiosk for the next patient. That next patient session can't begin until all items on the checklist have been completed and recorded."

Providers would have each HealthSpot Station attended by a certified health professional, either a nurse or nursing assistant, depending on the situation. The attendant will make sure that certain preliminary steps are properly taken, can see to follow-up arrangements, and (in some locations) might be able to dispense medications or hand a prescription to the patient.

HealthSpot envisions HealthSpot Stations in locations such as shopping malls and retail stores, as well as in remote locations that are currently unserved (or underserved) by healthcare professionals. While this is one of the first companies to provide such a system for remote healthcare, it's unlikely it will be the last.

The concept brings with it a number of questions that a provider's healthcare IT team will need to address.

One of those questions is, of course, network connectivity to and from the kiosk. Looking at the instruments used in the diagnosis of the patient, it's obvious that they don't require huge data transfer rates. The video conferencing has higher data requirements, but, once again, absolute fidelity isn't the most important issue.

Patient privacy is, on the other hand, a truly important issue that HealthSpot is dealing with by making sure that data is flushed from local kiosk instruments after each patient leaves. Data link security will, of course, be huge, as will the ability to share the patient data with approved healthcare providers for followup.

HealthSpot was one of the more interesting things I saw at CES 2013. I suspect that we'll be seeing a great deal more of this sort of remote telematic medicine in the next handful of years. How do you think your IT group will handle the requirements? I'm interested in your thoughts -- from the IT executive perspective, and from the patient perspective.

Would you want to provide IT oversight for this type of technology? Would you go to this ultimate "Doc in a Box" for your own healthcare needs?

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
Page 1 / 4   >   >>
freespiritny25   Doc in a Big, Blue Box   3/23/2013 7:23:21 PM
Re: Wonderful
@Curtis: When exactly is this vision expected to roll out into practice?
Susan Nunziata   Doc in a Big, Blue Box   1/30/2013 7:15:21 PM
Re: (interesting...?)
@Curt: It's certainly the next step in chronic disease management, just as we have blood pressure machines in many pharmacies now. Diabetics, folks suffering high blood pressure, asthma patients and many others could benefit from a "doc in a box" that can help them perform regular monitoring tests in between in-person care visits or to alert them that it's time for a visit.
Taimoor Zubair   Doc in a Big, Blue Box   1/28/2013 4:27:28 PM
Wonderful
Wonderful. I think it's the ideal solution for improvement of healthcare in remote places. At least the most reasonable one i have come across so far. I would definitely go to this doctor in a box. I hope this system is introduced in a short time so that developing countries can also follow the example. Though it would be too costly to arrange a box such as this, it's stilll worth a shot. I am thinking of picking this issue up in the next youth conferece my suggestions are asked for.
Susan Nunziata   Doc in a Big, Blue Box   1/18/2013 2:13:18 PM
Re: Management
@Curt, @Salik: You're right, the ways this can help in providing healthcare to remote areas around the world really get the imagination going. Curt--did the folks behind this technology provide any information on how it could be used in areas where electricity and Internet connectivity might be less reliable than it is in the US? Any use cases yet? 
Salik   Doc in a Big, Blue Box   1/18/2013 5:20:05 AM
Re: Management
@Curtics, Susan  Thank you for clearing the idea about how the medications and prescriptions differ in case of the Blue Box. Definitely, I agree to the idea of the pharmacy being available much more easier than doctors' office. I am in love with the Blue box idea, and would love to see it flourish across the world rather than being a part of the US itself.
Susan Nunziata   Doc in a Big, Blue Box   1/18/2013 12:01:08 AM
Re: Management
@Salik: That's a great suggestion to have these kiosks available to help tourists or foreigners. If these are placed in pharmacies where the patient can communicate with a doctor who is offsite, then that doctor would theoretically be able to send the perscription request directly to the pharmacy and the patient would be able to pick up the necessary medications from the pharmacy counter. Long way before we get there, but your idea is a perfect use case.
CurtisFranklin   Doc in a Big, Blue Box   1/16/2013 11:20:11 PM
Re: (interesting...?)
@freespiritny, I think we're going to see many more tchnology-oriented solutions to the problem of unavailable healthcare. Oe of the big questions (and one that was asked earlier in this conversation) is whether insurance companies will pay for this. I suspect that, ultimately, they will because the cost can be so much less than a visist to a traditional doctor's office,
CurtisFranklin   Doc in a Big, Blue Box   1/16/2013 11:17:30 PM
Re: (interesting...?)
@angelfuego, I think you've identified the idea -- that this is the next step up in providing services at locations where patients will already be going. While I'd love for everyone to have the sort of small-town doc I grew up with, I think this is a steo in a very good direection.
CurtisFranklin   Doc in a Big, Blue Box   1/16/2013 11:15:22 PM
Re: (interesting...?)
@Damian, that's true, and remember that a nurse or nursing assistant eiol be there to help interpret the doctor's orders or provide additional assistancel It's not a totally automated system -- it uses technology to augment the limited availability of medical professionals in remote locations and for under-served populations.
CurtisFranklin   Doc in a Big, Blue Box   1/16/2013 11:11:50 PM
Re: Management
@Salik, I don't believe the units would dispense medications -- the patient would still have to go to a pharmacy for that. In the US, at least, pharmacies are much more common that doctors' offices, so getting the medications should be much easier than getting a prescription in the first place.
Page 1 / 4   >   >>


The blogs and comments posted on EnterpriseEfficiency.com do not reflect the views of TechWeb, EnterpriseEfficiency.com, or its sponsors. EnterpriseEfficiency.com, TechWeb, and its sponsors do not assume responsibility for any comments, claims, or opinions made by authors and bloggers. They are no substitute for your own research and should not be relied upon for trading or any other purpose.

More Blogs from Curtis Franklin Jr.
Curtis Franklin Jr.   5/30/2014   10 comments
A good community can teach you a lot. And Enterprise Efficiency has been one of the best.
Curtis Franklin Jr.   5/26/2014   41 comments
Today is Memorial Day in the US, a day for remembering those who gave, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, "the last full measure of devotion" for their country and its citizens. It is a ...
Curtis Franklin Jr.   5/22/2014   35 comments
You're about to know precisely where your customers are and what they're doing. Are you ready for Big Data Advertising Everywhere?
Curtis Franklin Jr.   5/6/2014   19 comments
PHP is a great tool for building web pages that access databases. It's pretty nifty for pwning an enterprise site, too.
Curtis Franklin Jr.   4/30/2014   36 comments
BASIC turns 50 this year. Many IT pros wrote their first line of code in the venerable language, but is the ability to write code even important at the top of the IT ladder?
Latest Archived Broadcast
We talk with Bernard Golden about accelerating application delivery in the cloud.
On-demand Video with Chat
Register for this video discussion to learn how tablets can provide true business usability and productivity.
E2 IT Migration Zones
IT Migration Zone - UK
Why PowerShell Is Important
Reduce the Windows 8 Footprint for VDI
Rethinking Storage Management
IT Migration Zone - FR
SQL Server : 240 To de mémoire flash pour votre data warehouse
Quand Office vient booster les revenus Cloud et Android de Microsoft
Windows Phone : Nokia veut davantage d'applications (et les utilisateurs aussi)
IT Migration Zone - DE
Cloud Computing: Warum Unternehmen trotz NSA auf die „private“ Wolke setzen sollten
Cloud Computing bleibt Wachstumsmarkt – Windows Azure ist Vorreiter
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Enterprise Efficiency Twitter Feed
Site Moderators Wanted
Enterprise Efficiency is looking for engaged readers to moderate the message boards on this site. Engage in high-IQ conversations with IT industry leaders; earn kudos and perks. Interested? E-mail:
moderators@enterpriseefficiency.com
Dell's Efficiency Modeling Tool
The major problem facing the CIO is how to measure the effectiveness of the IT department. Learn how Dell’s Efficiency Modeling Tool gives the CIO two clear, powerful numbers: Efficiency Quotient and Impact Quotient. These numbers can be transforma¬tive not only to the department, but to the entire enterprise.

Read the full report
The State of Enterprise Efficiency in the Virtual Era: Virtualization – Smart Approaches to Maximize Gains
Virtualization is a presence in nearly all enterprise data centers. But not all companies are using it to its best effect. Learn the common characteristics of success, what barriers companies face, and how to get the most from your efforts.

Read the full report
Informed CIO: Dollars & Sense: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
Cut through the VDI hype and get the full picture -- including ROI and the impact on your Data Center -- to make an informed decision about your virtual desktop infrastructure deployments.

Read the full report
SPONSORED BY DELL
CASE STUDIES
EBOOKS
PUBLIC SECTOR RESOURCES
VIDEOS
WHITE PAPERS
WINDOWS SERVER 2012 RESOURCES
A Video Case Study – Translational Genomics Research Institute
e2 Video


On the Case
TGen IT: Where We're Going Next

7|11|12   |   08:12   |   10 comments


Now that TGen has broken new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions, the company discusses what will come next for it and for personalized medicine.
On the Case
Better Care Through Better Communications

6|6|12   |   02:24   |   11 comments


The achievements of the TGen/Dell project could improve how all people receive healthcare, because they are creating ways to improve end-to-end communication of medical data.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Are Now

5|15|12   |   06:58   |   6 comments


TGen is breaking new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Were

4|27|12   |   06:45   |   10 comments


The Translational Genomics Research Institute wanted to save lives, but its efforts were hobbled by immense computing challenges related to collecting, processing, sharing, and storing enormous amounts of data.
On the Case
1,200% Faster

4|18|12   |   02:27   |   12 comments


Through their partnership, Dell and TGen have increased the speed of TGen’s medical research by 1,200 percent.
On the Case
IT May Improve Children's Chances of Survival

4|17|12   |   02:12   |   8 comments


IT is helping medical researchers reach breakthroughs in a way and pace never seen before.
On the Case
Medical Advances in the Cloud

4|10|12   |   1:25   |   5 comments


TGen and Dell are pushing the boundaries of computing, and harnessing the power of the cloud to improve healthcare.
On the Case
TGen: Living the Mission

4|9|12   |   2:25   |   3 comments


TGen's CIO puts the organizational mission at the heart of everything the IT staff does.
On the Case
TGen Speeding Up Biomedical Research to Save More Lives

4|5|12   |   1:59   |   6 comments


The Translational Genomics Research Institute is revamping its computing to improve speed, storage, and collaboration – and, most importantly, to save lives.
On the Case
Computing Power Helping to Save Children's Lives

3|28|12   |   2:13   |   3 comments


The Translational Genomics Institute’s partnership with Dell is enabling them to treat kids with neuroblastoma more quickly and save more lives.
Tom Nolle
The Big Reason to Use Office

3|18|14   |   02:24   |   46 comments


Office and personal productivity tools come in a first-class and coach flavor set, but what makes the difference is primarily little things that most users won't encounter. What's the big issue in using something other than Office, and can you get around it?
E2 Editors
SPONSORED: Mobile Security — A Use Case

3|4|14   |   04:27   |   16 comments


New mobile security solutions can accommodate a wide array of needs, including those of a complex university environment.
Tom Nolle
Killing Net Neutrality Might Save You Money

1|16|14   |   2:13   |   16 comments


The DC Court of Appeals voided most of the Neutrality Order, and whatever it might mean for the Internet overall, it might mean better and cheaper Internet VPNs for businesses.
Tom Nolle
The Internet of Everythinguseful

1|10|14   |   2:18   |   19 comments


We really don't want an "Internet of Everything" but even building an Internet of Everythinguseful means setting some ground rules to insure there's value in the process and that costs and risks are minimized.
Tom Nolle
Maturing Google Chrome

12|30|13   |   2.18   |   25 comments


Google's Chrome OS has a lot of potential value and a lot of recent press, but it still needs something to make it more than a thin client. It needs cloud integration, it needs extended APIs via web services, and it needs to suck it up and support a hard drive.
Sara Peters
No More Cookie-Cutter IT

12|23|13   |   03.58   |   21 comments


Creating the right combination of technology, people, and processes for your IT organization is a lot like baking Christmas cookies.
Sara Peters
Smart Wigs Not a Smart Idea

12|5|13   |   3:01   |   46 comments


Sony is seeking a patent for wigs that contain computing devices.
Tom Nolle
Cloud in the Wild

12|4|13   |   02:23   |   15 comments


On a recent African trip I saw examples of the value of the cloud in developing nations, for educational and community development programs. We could build on this, but not only in developing economies, because these same programs are often under-supported even in first-world countries.
E2 Editors
SPONSORED: Is Malware Evading Your IPS?

11|18|13   |   03:16   |   4 comments


Intrusion prevention software is supposed to detect and block malware intrusions, but clever malware authors can evade your IPS in these five main ways.
Sara Peters
Where Have All the Mentors Gone?

9|27|13   |   3:15   |   38 comments


A good professional mentor can change your life for the better... but where do you find one?
Tom Nolle
SDN Wars & You Could Win

9|17|13   |   2:10   |   5 comments


VMware's debate with Cisco on SDN might finally create a fusion between an SDN view that's all about software and another that's all about network equipment. That would be good for every enterprise considering the cloud and SDN.
Ivan Schneider
The Future of the Smart Watch

9|12|13   |   3:19   |   39 comments


Wearing a bulky, oversized watch is good training for the next phase in wristwatches: the Internet-enabled, connected watch. Why the smartphone-tethered connected watch makes sense, plus Ivan demos an entirely new concept for the "smart watch."
Tom Nolle
Cutting Your Cloud Storage Costs

9|4|13   |   2:06   |   3 comments


Cloud storage costs are determined primarily by the rate at which files are changed and the possibility of concurrent access/update. If you can structure your storage use to optimize these factors you can cut costs, perhaps to zero.
Sara Peters
Do CIOs Need an IT Background?

8|29|13   |   2:11   |   23 comments


Most of the CIOs interviewed in the How to Become a CIO series did not start their careers as IT professionals. So is an IT background essential?
Ivan Schneider
The Internet Loves Birthdays

8|27|13   |   3:25   |   69 comments


The Internet has evolved into a machine for drumming up a chorus of "Happy Birthday" messages, from family, friends, friends of friends who you added on Facebook, random people that you circled on G+, and increasingly, automated bots. Enough already.