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The Tampa Bay Times has a story about how Publix Super Markets, working with BayCare Health System, is expanding a “telemedicine” test started late last year.

“What started as an experiment late last year at a handful of Publix stores will be expanding to nearly two dozen more locations in the coming months,” the story says. “At BayCare’s new ‘Walk-In Care’ kiosks near the Publix pharmacy, customers can talk remotely to a physician to address simple medical problems like a sore throat or head cold without the usual logistical complexities.”

It seems to be a growing trend: “A recent study by the firm Rock Health found that 42 percent of millennials have used video telemedicine services already, compared to 25 percent of Gen Xers and less than 5 percent of Baby Boomers,” the Times writes.

Glenn Waters, executive vice president and chief operating officer with BayCare, tells the Times, “In general, it’s a younger population that responds first. But there’s these expectations from older generations for health care, and a lot of times they are just as literate as my kid online. I think it will be accepted by most people because of the ease and convenience.”

And Publix spokesman Brian West says, “We believe this is a game changer. It will have a major impact on the overall cost of health care too.”
KC's View:
Not only do I like this idea a lot as a way for a retailer to become more engaged in health care in a meaningful, relevant and manageable way, but when I read this story I immediately thought that there could be some applicability for the Albertsons-Rite Aid deal. They’re going to be in a position where drawing a direct line between food and health will make good business sense, so maybe they could create a system that uses this technology not just to consult with doctors, but with dietitians, nutritionists, fitness experts, etc…

It would all be part of being more than just a source of product, but also a resource for information.