TECHNOLOGY

Albertsons unveils ‘first-of-its-kind’ AI-powered medical clinic in its Safeway unit

BY David Salazar

Shoppers at select Safeway stores can get a nagging cough checked out when they stop in to pick up some groceries.

Two Safeway stores in the Phoenix area are kicking off a new partnership between Albertsons Companies and virtual health solutions provider Akos.

Akos has launched, “first-of-its-kind,” artificial intelligence-powered medical clinics in two Phoenix-area Safeway stores.

The Akos Med Clinic is a self-guided medical station powered by AI and augmented reality. Akos said it planned to expand the offering to 50 Safeway locations throughout Arizona by the middle of 2019, as well as to other states, such as Colorado, where Safeway has a presence.

“Safeway is a local community grocery store and pharmacy that cares about the health and wellness of our customers,” said Joe Leyba, Albertsons director of pharmacy operations for the southwest region. “Our vision is that the Akos Med Clinic will increase access to care and help customers experience a one-stop shop for all their nutritional and medicinal needs.”

The medical station guides patients, who are sitting in front of a computer screen and a rack of medical tools, through self-administered steps to collect such data as weight, temperature, blood pressure and blood oxygen content, as well as images of their ear, nose and throat, and sounds of their chest, lungs and abdomen.

The process is designed to take less than 15 minutes, and their work-up is sent, along with potential illnesses and treatment options, to an Akos provider who engages with the patient through a video consultation to confirm the collected info, verify the diagnosis and confirm or change the treatment plan. There also will be an on-site healthcare professional to assist if needed, Akos said.

The medical station, which combines Akos’ virtual health platform with AdviNow Medical’s technology, can help diagnose and treat such illnesses as sinus infections, earaches, sore throats, rashes and urinary tract infections.

“In a time when digital health is rapidly evolving, we are excited to bring this unprecedented approach to virtual medical care,” said Kishlay Anand, Akos CEO and co-founder. “At Akos, we’re committed to improving access to high-quality medical care and this partnership will expand our telehealth offering beyond the capabilities of our telemedicine app by placing these clinics where consumers regularly shop.”

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