Publix to offer video chat with doctors

- The next time you need to visit a doctor, you might just head to the grocery store.

Publix and BayCare Health System are teaming up to offer tele-health video conferencing stations in some Bay Area stores.

Here's how it will work: Patients would go into a private room and speak via HD video conference with a board certified physician through BayCare's network.

Step-by-step, the doctor will help patients use the diagnostic tools in the room, and then make their diagnosis.  They could even write a prescription, right then and there.  

"We're trying to provide care that better meets the needs of the public," said BayCare COO Glenn Waters."If you think about a lot of things people go to ER for - bad cold, flu, rash, sinus issues - those are things a physician can treat using this technology."

What it won't work for are more serious medical issues, like X-Rays. 

FOX 13's Dr. Joette Giovinco says telemedicine is a multi-billion dollar industry that is becoming increasingly mainstream, and is expected to impact seven million people by 2018.

Dr. Jo expects the partnership between Publix and BayHealth to be a hit, especially with tech-savvy millennials. She warns, it should not take the place of having a general practitioner.

"I think it's important to have that medical home, that that face-to-face person to person interaction with a primary care doctor," she said.

The goal is to have the systems up and running in four months. The companies haven't yet announced in which Publix stores they will be. 

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