Safeway stores offering health care powered by artificial intelligence

Arizona State University alumnus and AdviNOW Medical Product Director Tarek Saleh demonstrates the artificial-intelligence-enabled Akos Med Clinic at a Safeway grocery store near ASU’s Tempe campus. ASU students and alumni from the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering have been instrumental in developing cutting-edge AI technology for the Phoenix startup./ Erika Gronek/ASU

By Stephanie Innes | Arizona Republic 

Virtual health kiosks opening up inside in Arizona Safeway stores are similar to using the self-checkout line for groceries — only in this case, the commodity is medical care.

There’s no doctor or nurse inside the walk-in Akos Med Clinic. Rather, the clinics use technology powered by artificial intelligence and augmented reality to gather symptoms and vitals, as well as determine possible diagnoses.

Developers of the new health clinics are counting on the fact that patients will like the autonomy of using the kiosks, much the way some customers like the convenience of checking out their own groceries.

“What we’re finding is that millennials are definitely taking to it much sooner. They are much earlier adopters (of the concept),” said Nate Curran, general manager of Akos Med Clinic, which is a joint venture between Arizona-based companies AdviNow Medical and AkosMD. “But it is for everyone.” 

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