BayCare Health System, based in Clearwater, Florida, is collaborating with Publix Pharmacy, headquartered in Lakeland, Fla., to create “telehealth sites” at Publix locations in four central Florida counties-Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk.
The collaboration initially includes BayCare branded telehealth sites in various Publix locations, BayCare screening stations in all Publix locations and Publix Pharmacies onsite at five BayCare hospital locations. BayCare Health System consists of 14 hospitals throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions. Inpatient and outpatient services include acute care, primary care, imaging, laboratory, behavioral health, home care, and wellness.
“This is a very exciting collaboration for both Publix and BayCare,” Fred Ottolino, Publix vice president of pharmacy operations, said in a statement. “Through this agreement, we will not only be able to provide BayCare medical expertise to Publix customers seeking non-urgent medical care, but we will also be able to bring Publix’s premier service to BayCare’s patients.”
“BayCare is extremely pleased to enter into this agreement with Publix because we share the core value of excellence,” Glenn Waters, executive vice president/COO, BayCare Health System, said in a prepared statement. “This collaboration between medical care and pharmacy also furthers the long-time BayCare commitment to connect the many different aspects of health care in an efficient manner that improves both patient health and the care experience. We are very focused on helping individuals access the right level of care in the right place and this collaboration does just that.”
The agreement makes BayCare Publix’s exclusive health care and telehealth collaborator within the four-county geographic region. The telehealth sites will have a private room with teleconferencing and medical diagnostic equipment, including stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, high-definition cameras and other tools necessary for common diagnoses, according to a press release from BayCare. The telehealth sites allow patients to speak directly via video conferencing technology with a board-certified physician through BayCare’s physician network. The physician can direct the patient to use the available diagnostic tools in order to make a diagnosis and write any necessary prescriptions. According to BayCare, fees to use the telehealth site are expected to be competitive with a normal doctor’s office copay.
Another component of the collaboration will enable BayCare patients to test their blood pressure and perform other screenings on the in-store health and wellness kiosks — known as higi stations — and send their screening results directly to their BayCare physician at no extra fee.
In addition to these new services within its stores, Publix will purchase, renovate and operate four existing on-site BayCare hospital retail pharmacies at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Tampa; Mease Countryside Hospital, Safety Harbor; Morton Plant Hospital, Clearwater; and St. Anthony’s Hospital, St. Petersburg. A fifth Publix Pharmacy will be built in Winter Haven Hospital. Publix also will provide free, bedside prescription delivery services to patients at all BayCare hospital locations.