Likewise, BayCare started its telehealth program in June 2016, and installed its first Publix kiosk in December 2017. Held says that for BayCare, the main cost of the program is for the kiosks themselves. Other costs, including bill processing and follow-up calls from telehealth navigators after the visit, are routine for the health system.
"We would have many of those expenses whether we were in Publix or not," he says.
In both cases, the pharmacy is a partner that hosts, rather than operates, the kiosk.
For example, the Walgreens pharmacy team operates like a concierge for the visits, performing tasks such as letting patients into the private rooms, cleaning the rooms and equipment when visits are over, and providing instructions to patients, if needed. Patients can also fill their post-visit prescriptions at any pharmacy they choose, not just Walgreens.
BayCare's four Publix telehealth kiosk sites are also self-service, and Publix staff cleans the rooms, too. Patients swipe a form of ID and a credit card, answer general information, select or type in their symptoms, then access the doctor via the video visit. Instructional videos can help guide patients, although pharmacy staff can provide support if needed.
Both BayCare and NewYork-Presbyterian also had existing relationships with Publix and Walgreens.
"We've had a partnership around pharmacy with NewYork-Presbyterian at their flagship hospital," in the form of an on-site pharmacy, says Patrick H. Carroll, MD, Walgreens' chief medical officer for healthcare clinics and divisional vice president of clinical programs & alliances.
He adds that the kiosks piggyback onto NewYork-Presbyterian's already robust telehealth offerings.
"We're one part of that strategy for them," Carroll says.
Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.