The Albertsons Cos. has opened five more automated health care facilities in the Phoenix area and soon plans to open two more – one local and another in its hometown of Boise, Idaho – in partnership with Phoenix-based virtual health solutions provider Akos.
Five more Akos Med Clinics are now open in five additional Phoenix-area stores: two in Scottsdale and one each in Ahwatukee, Chandler and Laveen. An 11th clinic will open in Casa Grande later this month, and a 12th is slated to debut in Boise next month. As Albertsons put it, "running in to grab a gallon of milk' is now synonymous with 'running in to get that nagging earache treated' for Arizonans with easy access to the new locations."
At each location:
- Patients begin on a tablet or smartphone and, by engaging with the artificial intelligence (AI), are guided through registration, insurance validation, payment and information collection required for diagnosis. At the end of the Q&A, patients are guided to an exam room housing a computer screen and rack of simple-to-use, FDA-approved medical devices.
- Augmented reality guides patients on how to use the devices to collect objective measurements such as weight, temperature, blood pressure and blood oxygen content, along with ear, nose and throat images, and chest, lung and abdominal sounds. The AI asks follow-up questions and the on-site medical assistant takes any necessary labs until the information necessary for diagnostic decision is collected.
- A complete patient workup distributes electronically to an Akos medical provider with a breakdown of potential illnesses and treatment options.
- The provider engages via video consultation with the patient to review the AI-collected information, verify the diagnosis, and confirm or modify the treatment plan formulated by the system. Warranted follow-up tests and/or prescriptions are ordered and sent to appropriate health care partners.
- After the visit – which takes 20 minutes or less – concludes, the system automatically charts the visit into the patient’s electronic health record, and bills insurance.
Albertsons opened the first five locations last November in Gilbert, Phoenix, Glendale, Mesa and Tempe.
"We are committed to providing our customers unprecedented convenience for their total health needs," said Joe Leyba, director of pharmacy for Albertsons Cos. Southwest, which operates Safeway stores. "Our hope is that these clinics help improve access to health care in the neighborhoods where we have these locations, because they are located in the same place our customers are already buying groceries and picking up their prescriptions."
Akos Med Clinic accepts most insurance plans, AHCCCS and Medicare. Cash visits are only $75, about half the cost of a typical urgent care visit.
Albertsons Cos. operates stores across 35 states and Washington, D.C., under 20 banners, including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs. The company is No. 3 on Progressive Grocer's 2018 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.