TAMPA, Fla. — The bright blue box isn’t big. But squeezed inside it, there’s a video conferencing system, cutting-edge cameras, and a highly secured vault.
There’s also a blood pressure cuff, a scale, and a few paper bags for good measure, in case anyone inside gets sick.
The pod — it looks something like an oversized phone booth — is a free-standing telehealth clinic, stocked with all the instruments a virtual practitioner might need to diagnose run-of-the-mill illnesses or dole out common prescriptions. On the wall, there’s a roughly 3-foot-tall video screen where a nurse practitioner can pop up for a chat. There’s a high-resolution camera on a cord, waiting to drop down from the ceiling if a provider needs to see a problem up close. And there’s even a hidden little robotic pharmacy — the highly secured vault — stocked with basic prescription medicines, plus a credit card reader that lets patients pay for them.