In a move to bring what might typically be found in a doctor’s office into the community, digital health tools are arriving at stores in Baltimore in order to to screen key metrics and provide content about health and well being.
North Baltimore-based hospital network LifeBridge Health is partnering with Chicago-based consumer health engagement company Higi to bring free smart heath stations to retail locations for use by customers. Higi has a network 10,000 FDA-cleared stations nationwide. Through the four-month pilot program, stations with LifeBridge branding are at 68 retail locations locally, such as Giant grocery stores and Rite Aid pharmacy locations.
The stations contain tools to measure a user’s blood pressure, weight and body mass index. Blood pressure cuffs have been appearing in pharmacies for years, but these stations have more going on behind the scenes to help both the users and the health providers. To provide further information about health and well-being, the orgs worked together to create content that is offered on the stations about topics like prevention, high blood pressure and heart health. The users can also take a quick survey. This can help patients to track progress, and provide the numbers to inform whether they might need a follow-up visit with a health pro. LifeBridge Health will also follow up with further communications.
“Throughout the pandemic, we saw that many people were putting off preventative care,” Pothik Chatterjee, LifeBridge Health AVP of innovation and operations support, told Technical.ly. “However, now we’re seeing renewed interest in people wanting information about general health and well being in a convenient location. Growing our partnership with Higi allows us to effectively meet consumers through their retail and digital touchpoints.”
It expands how the healthcare provider and tech company are working together. In 2019, they teamed to install a Higi station in the Jewish Community Center in Owings Mills. A patron using the station found she had dangerously high blood pressure, leading her to seek follow-up care and get help that was needed.
“It’s really about extending care and access beyond the traditional four walls of a hospital and going into the community to meet people where they are already shopping or getting their [prescriptions]. It’s about convenience and access,” Chatterjee said.
LifeBridge Health’s innovation, population health and marketing team are involved in the pilot, and looking to learn over the four months.