HEALTH

Number of customers engaging SoloHealth digital kiosks continues to climb

BY Michael Johnsen

AUSTIN, Texas — SoloHealth on Wednesday announced that its SoloHealth Station digital kiosk has seen consumer engagement rise more than 200% since late summer. To date, 5 million consumers have interacted with the kiosk, up from 2.5 million in late August. Additionally, daily consumer usage has increased three fold, going from 10,000 per day at the end of August to approximately 35,000 today.

“The data is revealing tremendous consumer engagement rates, clearly showing there is an interest and need for this type of self-service healthcare access in today’s environment," stated Bart Foster, SoloHealth CEO. "We are extremely bullish as we continue our nationwide rollout with retail partners and look forward to bringing this free service to more consumers across America, empowering them to take control of their healthcare."

Each consumer spends almost 5 minutes engaging the kiosk per session, with one of three taking multiple tests. Blood pressure and BMI are the two tests most often taken together. As many as 57% of users use the kiosk to measure blood pressure, making that the most popular test offered. Almost two thirds of all users are over the age of 55, slightly more men (55%) engage the kiosk than women (45%). As many as 71% of SoloHealth Station users are at medium to high risk of hypertension and 51% are overweight or obese. One in four are returning users. 

SoloHealth is currently expanding its reach nationwide with an initiative that will place the FDA-approved SoloHealth Station in more than 1,000 retail locations and all 50 states by end of 2012. Company executives estimate the kiosk will reach 4,000 locations by 2014. There are currently units in select retailers across America, including Walmart, Sam’s Club, Safeway, Publix, CVS and Schnuck’s Markets.

The SoloHealth Station is a healthcare access point for consumers providing screenings for vision, blood pressure, weight and body mass index, a symptom checker as well as an overall health assessment free of charge. SoloHealth also helps connect consumers to local professionals through their databases, helping people enter the most appropriate and accurate point in the health care system. 


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WSJ: B&L exploring sale

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — Bausch & Lomb is actively exploring a sale that could command upward of $10 billion, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal published Tuesday. 

According to the report, Bausch & Lomb has been entertaining informal inquiries since the announcement that the company may soon issue an initial public offering. If no buyer materializes, the eye care company still plans to pursue an IPO, the report noted.

For the complete report, click here

 

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N.Y. Health Department urges New Yorkers to get flu shots as this season’s illness rates begin to climb

BY Michael Johnsen

ALBANY — The New York Department of Health on Monday announced that reported cases of influenza are increasing throughout New York, and flu activity in the state is now considered to be widespread, with laboratory-confirmed cases in more than half the regions. 

Since New York began its annual seasonal flu surveillance this fall, influenza cases have been reported in 47 counties and the five boroughs of New York City. This is consistent with nationwide reporting that shows influenza activity is also increasing in many regions of the country. 

"The early reports of flu cases in New York further emphasize the importance of people getting a flu vaccination now," stated State Health Commissioner Nirav Shah. "A flu vaccination is a safe and effective way to reduce your risk for flu and also protect the health of your family and friends."

Shah reminded New Yorkers who have not been vaccinated for influenza that it’s not too late to get their annual vaccination. Healthcare providers and local health departments continue to have ample supplies of flu vaccine. "Most health insurance plans cover flu vaccines," the department stated. "Pharmacists are also able to give flu shots and pharmacies may be an easy and convenient place to receive a flu vaccination."

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