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Artificial intelligence-powered clinics providing medical care

(KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino)

PHOENIX — Similar to self-checkout lines found in some stores, patients are getting medical care using kiosks powered by artificial intelligence inside clinics at several Safeway stores across the Valley.

The kiosks are inside the walk-in Akos Med Clinics at 10 Safeway stores in the metro-Phoenix area. There are no doctors or nurses inside the clinics. Instead, the kiosks gather vitals and help determine possible diagnosis.

“Our kiosks are packed with artificial intelligence, which will help guide the patient through the patient encounter while taking their vitals,” said Sean Walker, director of operations for Akos Med Clinic.

Through a series of questions, the kiosk obtains a patient’s medical history, current medications, allergies and symptoms.

Patients also have the ability to conduct self-examinations using equipment such as a stethoscope, temporal thermometer and blood pressure machine. Cameras are also on hand to examine a patient’s throat, ears and nose.

“Once all their vitals are taken and the series of questions are over … one of our providers will come live on the screen and talk to the patient live as a virtual exam room,” Walker said.

He added though the kiosks generate several probably diagnosis, the providers ultimately make the diagnostic decision using the information gathered. Medical assistants also stand by at the clinic to provide assistance.

“They can then walk right next door to the pharmacy to get the medication that was prescribed to them,” Walker said.

The total process typically takes under 25 minutes, and it costs $75 per visit for those who don’t have health insurance.

“The whole idea is to offer affordability and convenience for the patients,” Walker said.

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