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Telehealth stations earmarked for Giant Eagle stores

Supermarket chain partners with regional health network

Giant Eagle is working with regional health system University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to roll out UPMC AnywhereCare telemedicine kiosks in several stores.

Plans call for the AnywhereCare stations to initially be deployed at three Giant Eagle supermarkets in Pennsylvania, including at the Waterworks Shopping Plaza in Pittsburgh, the Waterfront shopping center in Homestead and 4010 Monroeville Blvd. in Monroeville.

UPMC said that through the kiosks — to be situated in private consultation rooms next to the Giant Eagle in-store pharmacies — its clinicians can provide treatment of minor illness to anyone in Pennsylvania, regardless of their insurance status.

“Giant Eagle is excited to partner with UPMC, a trusted leader in health care, to provide convenient access to care for our customers and the communities we serve. We believe convenient access to medical care is lacking in certain geographical areas and are hoping that, by piloting these services in our stores, our communities will receive the care they need at their convenience, including nights and weekends,” Adam Zakin, senior director of new business development for Giant Eagle Pharmacy, said in a statement.

UPMC’s AnywhereCare stations use videoconferencing to connect its clinicians with patients (ages 3 and older). Peripheral devices at the kiosks — such as blood pressure cuffs, thermometers and otoscopes — are used to collect key health data. Giant Eagle pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are on hand to help patients with the kiosks and devices.

Clinicians can be contacted through the kiosks during regular pharmacy hours at the participating Giant Eagle stores. Patients are seen by a health professional within minutes and can receive care for a range of non-urgent conditions, from sore throats to earaches.

“If successful, we look to expand to additional Giant Eagle locations in the future,” Zakin added.

Pennsylvania residents don’t have to be a UPMC Health Plan member to use the AnywhereCare stations, UPMC noted. Depending on a patient’s health insurance coverage, the cost of an AnywhereCare visit ranges from no charge out of pocket to $49. Prescriptions, if needed, are sent electronically to the patient’s chosen pharmacy and paid for separately. AnywhereCare also can be accessed remotely through through free mobile and desktop apps.

“As the name says, we want UPMC care to be available to our patients anywhere — including the grocery store, where they might already be looking for over-the-counter remedies,” said Natasa Sokolovich, executive director of telehealth for Pittsburgh-based UPMC, whose network includes 40 hospitals, 600 doctor’s offices and outpatient sites, and 4,800 physicians. “With UPMC AnywhereCare already available on smartphones, tablets and personal computers, our partnership with Giant Eagle is one more way to make our high-quality care accessible to patients when and where they want it.”

Giant Eagle, based in Pittsburgh, operates 216 Giant Eagle supermarkets in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and Indiana.

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