Doctor Found in a Box

Description: Imagine a quick, inexpensive trip to the doctor at all hours of the night.


Date: Jan 15, 2013


click on link to watch video

 Questions for discussion:

1.  Do you feel that this type of health care has a bright future? Why or Why not?

2.  What situations would this type of medical care be most appropriate or advantageous?


23 thoughts on “Doctor Found in a Box

  1. David Fox

    Only if these healthspots are properly managed, operated, designed, and maintained would health care benefit from their introduction.

    As technology becomes further is involved in the health care process, the reliance and use of stable electricity and systems also increases. The need for technical workers who do not have a history of health care, or who will need to be cross trained to understand it, will be needed to maintain all that additional sites that are created. But as mentioned in the video, the actual need for a doctor to be physically present would be decreased. This seems like a trade-off of technical professions, if it is faster and easier to train a technical worker than a health care worker the number of health care workers may decrease. This might also be seen as a dumbing down of highly skilled field. The other option is to cross train the health care workers in the technical field which could also seem like an increased burden on their knowledge requirements, or as a distraction from providing health care.

    As a counter note, there are currently remote operating stations that are used in several dangerous and high precision settings. Examples include: military drones; remote waste management and handling for nuclear, chemical, and biological sites; remote surgery. All of which have been highly successful, typically allowing those involved to function in safer environment and accomplish things that would not be possible without the equipment.

    Other points include:
    Advantages – More Available hours, distance limitations regarding where the professional is located disappear, worldwide expertise’s become available, reducing of emergency room loads by providing non critical services nearby prevent people filling limited facilities, Smaller footprint to provide services (don’t need a whole building just for one doctor), Isolates possible contagions from the health care providers meaning that they won’t as likely get sick and have their medical expertise unavailable.

    Dangers – what if a critical person goes to one of these locations? What if maintenance falls behind? Involving and relying on another type of technical expertise means the health care system wont be able to service all the equipment. What if there is a power outage?

    Electronically or remotely provided healthcare seems like it has the potential to treat more people with fewer resources and at farther distances, but is that what is being achieved?

  2. Yaqian Diao

    I feel that this type of health care has a bright future. With the development of technology, the new medical equipments are invented continuously. From the video Doctor found in a box, we know that because of the healthspot, the patients don’t need to worry about the doctors during the night. There will be accurate and quick data for the doctors via the Box. The application can help doctors give a suggestion to the patients quickly, when they know the patients’ current situation. Both doctors and patients and get benefits from the machine. However, the current main problem is that the box can be used widely now and the cost may be expensive for the hospital. It just belongs to the test period. On the other hand, there are still some people who cannot understand high technology, even though there are some instructions. Thus, when the machine enters the hospital, it may need some instructors beside the Box.

  3. Will Mammo

    In the world we live in currently where most nations cost a tremendous amounts of money for medical treatment, the introduction of the Doctor in a box could be very beneficial and futuristic. Implementing this product in the US means a big cut on medical expenses. But with the advantages it brings of cost savings and convenience, there lies a great disadvantage. In order to use this product after work hours, there must be doctors that work around the clock to communicate with patients through Skype. The question is, who is going to pay the doctors? Although the cost of a simple check up has come down tremendously and access to treatment is very quick, what source of income is going to cover the labor the doctors provide. Although the implementation of this product has great benefits, i don’t see it having a very prosperous future due to the high expenses that arise with it.

  4. Cameron Pituley

    The healthspot “doctor in a box” would presumably have an impressive future ahead of it. Seeing as it is designed to give after hours care to children to avoid clogging up the ER, I would say that this is revolutionary in the medical field. If people truly do prefer using the healthspot boxes I could see them being brought into use during busy or hours or even instituted regularly to ease the chaos of physician offices that are normally packed. The ease of use and affordability alone are enough to intrigue me. I would be interested to see how much service one of these healthspot doctor stations are able to actually offer relative to an in person visit. I know that there is no conceivable way for one of these booths to handle any serious health issues at this point in time and has not been designed for that. I do think that in the future as technology advances the healthspot booth may be able to tackle more serious health concerns and seeing as it is round the clock help for those who need it may eventually prove to be an incredible asset to the medical industry.
    Without a doubt the best applications of these booths would be in walk-in clinic settings that are easily accessible to families un able to either afford or attend hospitals. It will be important to keep the machines clean and working properly round the clock- no problems with the electronics- or these will ultimately lead to more trouble than they are worth.

  5. Carlie Willimont

    I believe this type of heath care has a future, but not in all situations. I think this is great for patients who have minimal concerns, little time and aren’t chronically ill. I understand waiting times in emergency rooms are ridiculous and a system such as this can reduce over all wait times and let more emerge doctors see patients who are experiencing urgent symptoms. I believe this system has some flaws though. We will always get the patients who go into one of these and believe that they have not been treated appropriately, they are more ill than the doctor has diagnosed and who will use these machines frequently instead of just when they really need too. However if we can keep these frequent flyers out of the emergency room it can be beneficial to the healthcare system. I think this type of medical care would be most appropriate for late night visits, patients who don’t have a history of chronic illness, maybe those who have had a infection before and understand they just need a prescription quickly. I think people will take advantage of this just because they think its cool and others will avoid it due to lack of trust.

  6. Eric Choi

    In my opinion, this type of health care does have a bright future to the people who does not go to the doctors often, due to inconvinience in time and money troubles. It is true this can be advantageous to those segment of people, but I see a potential for disaster as well. First of all, yes, it is helpful initially for people who could do this conveniently at home, but I see a problem of clogging up more doctors time and resources just to get it verified by the doctors if the app was correct or not. If there were a better way of strategizing this mobile health care, by setting up mobile clinics in key parts of city, then it would work, but honestly, I see more problems than advantages.

  7. Jessica Holmes

    This innovative machine has the potential of being very useful and productive. I say this because emergency rooms within hospitals are always full of patients who do not have any critical disease but rather just need a doctor to write a prescription or make suggestions within minor cases. Machines like this would be most appropriate in hospitals which have high traffic after hours (when the doctors’ offices are closed) for minor issues which would normally be examined by a doctor. These machines would help with the continuous overflow of patients within hospital emergency rooms after work hours. Although these machines will create a smaller flow of people to emergency rooms they continually need to be maintained along with needing continuous access to a doctor. This differs from an ATM machine for banking as an ATM does not need continual human contact in order to function. Even though this machine is interesting I do not believe it will have a bright future as continual maintenance is not always a viable option along people generally prefer to have more of a hands on approach to their health, meaning people generally prefer to have a doctor actually see them in person and be able to feel the problem. Great idea of a machine but in practice these machines may not work as the public may not see them as an appropriate alternative to physically seeing a doctors with their medical issues.

  8. Jill

    If a machine can correctly diagnose a minor illness, then this frees up doctors to focus on the major things. So yes, I believe there is a need for more electronic diagnostics in our health care system. An ER room would especially benefit from this technology since it is a crowded, germ filled, and exhausting place with illnesses ranging from a mild flu to the worst trauma imaginable. Parents must be desperate if they’re willing to take their child to an ER after clinic hours for something like an earache or strep throat. In the ER, doctors help those who need it the most, so a minor injury will have to wait for anyone with a major problem. If a machine could quickly diagnose the minor problems, doctors could invest more of their time and energy into the big problems and free up valuable space in the ER. This type of electronic health care would save the system money. In our culture, we go to the doctor when we ware sick. And usually a doctor treats the symptoms of a problem, but not the whys of the problem. But if there were more electronic health care devices what if it allowed for more understanding of the whys? Patients would receive better information to manage their own health, and when doctors understand the whys they could focus on preventative healthcare instead of reactive healthcare.

  9. regi

    I think this type of health care is interesting but I am not sure if it has a bright future or not. I think people, when they are sick, still like to see someone and not sit in a box. They are talking about providing care to children initially with this box and I don’t think that parents will use this right away. Parents want their children to be seen, especially because by the time they want to take them to the emergency room the child is usually very sick. Maybe the people that have more knowledge about health care or feel confident about taking care of themselves will use this “doctor in a box” but I think most people will still go to see their doctor or will go to the emergency room. Here, we don’t have a doctor in a box but we have a phone number you can call – health link – if you have questions. I have talked with people that do call and most times they are sent to the emergency room or their doctor for follow up. I think the same kind of thing will happen with the doctor in a box.
    If people use this I think it may be most appropriate for people that do not need emergent care and only need advice on what to do for simple things like allergies, colds, or to have questions answered. If they need any kind of x-ray or check-up that is more than blood pressure and temperature they will still have to go to the doctor. Also, if they need a prescription they will not be able to use this tool. Maybe it would be good to have in a downtown core for business people that need a quick answer and can cope with their problems. Or it could be used for an outbreak of some kind like the H1N1 outbreak to assess people and tell them if they need more follow up or can go home and stay safe. I still think that for more serious things people need to go to the doctor or hospital.

  10. Songxuan Wu

    When I first saw this diagnose system, I has been shocked by its ATM shape and the huge convinience it provided. But when I turn to think deeply, some problems related to this revolutionary system jumped into my mind. Firstly, as we all know, the process of diagnose includes many aspects. For instance, sometimes the doctor need to smell your mouth in order to figure out why you got collywobbles; sometimes the doctor need to touch and check your body directly rather than by video. Indeed, this system realizes most ways that doctors used to execute diagnose like rating pulse, asking the patients questions and observing their gesture and reflection, and taking patients’ temperatures, but it’s not enough. Secondly, I am afraid of the practicability of this system. although in the video, they didn’t mention the cost of this system, obviously, the cost to purchase and settle this system can be a really huge number. Is it really worth to replace the existing pattern by introducing this immature system? What about we use this fund to upgrade? For instance, we can hire more doctors, we can build more clinics in communities, or we can buy more ambulances. To sum up, I think this type of health care cannot be taken into practice in the short future, but of cause it doe not mean that this product is hopeless. From my point of view, these new products can be represented by TESLA, the famous electrical automobile maker, who can have a bright future only when they stride beyond some barriers in front of them.
    There are three situations that would this type of medical care be most appropriate. Firstly, at the time when traditional clinics closed like midnight, this system can be very useful. Secondly, at the remote areas where it is impossible to build a clinic, this system can be a perfect substitution. Last but not lease, this system can be very useful when weird disease appears and the specialist is far away.

  11. James Mahoney

    I feel as though this type of medical does have some sort of market and will be applicable in the near future. There are a couple reasons why people are normally deterred to go to the doctor, either because of the cost, or the wait times that are involved with making an appearance to a clinic/emergency room. One of the greatest advantages of this type of health care is the ability to see the doctor at any stage of the day. They spoke about giving children the ability to see the doctor without having to pull them out of school or being able to have attention when the normal medical office would be closed. Another advantage that these booths have is the small and convenient size of them. This will really reduce the cost of implementing them. These booths will not be a solution to serious medical attention but are a great alternative to waiting hours at a walk-in clinic for the flu. These stations could only be the beginning and a test to how the public reacts to them. There could be future innovation to improve the performance and diagnosis of the machines. But the time being I think they can really only be used for the common cold and flu.

  12. Xinying Du

    This article is mainly talk about a quick, inexpensive trip to the doctor at all hours of the night. I think this technology can have a very good future. As we see from the videos that, using this technology, people do not have to wait for the long line to see a doctor, and they do not have to make an appointment, which is saving people’s time. Also, it kinds of save money. It is not very expensive to see a doctor that people think. To sum up, this technology will be very useful in the future. It can bring a lot of convenience to people to see a doctor. People see a dictor will be more easily than before.

    Although it is very useful, it will have a long road to go. Because there are still a lots of people do not contact with technology, how to let people familiar with this technology is important. Also, in some poor countries, technology may not have very good conditions. So they do not have a good base to construct this technology. This technology still needs to improve.

  13. Crystal S.

    Probably not at this time and it would definitely have to depend on the situation. If the situations described by Healthspot were not major emergencies then it would be beneficial to parents or the families of patients and even emergency room personnel because those patients who have minor emergencies would not flood the emergency room. Most patients who go to emergency rooms to get medical attention from a Doctor can usually have the same treatment at a clinic, but because the clinics are closed they have to go to the emergency room to get medication. With the Healthspot the patient can skype with the Doctor and he can check the vital signs and probably make a diagnosis and save the patient a trip to the emergency room. If the patient had a severe emergency I think that a person would know that this type of medical attention would not be appropriate and they would have to go to the hospital for medical attention. This can be advantageous and prevent long waits in the emergency rooms for patients and give medical staff more time to concentrate on really serious cases. There would probably be some type of disadvantages where there are some patients who try to get medication without having any conditions at all and the Doctor would not really know because they cannot see the patient in person. But who knows maybe this is the wave of the future with all the improvements to technology it could be the future for emergency waiting rooms and Doctor visits.

  14. Litchi Peng

    I think this type of health care has a bright future. In my country, it is very convenient to see doctors. However, when I came to Canada, I realized that it is very hard to see doctors in here. People better not sick, otherwise it will be very complicated. For example, I was sick one time, I booked an appointment and I can see the doctor next week. When the day came, unfortunately I missed the day, and then I had to make another appointment. In addition, sometimes, there is another situation is that when the day you go to doctors comes, you have already recovered. Doctors cannot let you know what the problem is in time. The doctor in box is a really good way to solve the problem that people have to make an appointment and then they get a chance to see doctors. I believe that this type of health care can easy and quick help patients. Sometimes, people only get some disease that is not too serious and it may be treated easily. If doctor in box can help, it gives doctors more time to treat people who have some serious diseases. Therefore, in my opinion, I guess this type of health care has a bright future because doctors and patients both of them can get advantages from it. When people get flu or some affection, they can see doctors in box. It is a quick and easy way to know what the problem is and what kind of medicine they should eat.

  15. Liz Martin

    I think that this could be a really valuable addition to the healthcare system for many reasons, firstly because I think it will fulfill their goal of reducing the number of non-serious issues in emergency care. I think that it’s a better means of reducing the amount of non-serious issues in doctor offices than other technologies too – like the one we saw earlier where a patient can use a smart phone to perform a self-diagnosis. I think this would be a considerably more accurate method than that application – even though with Doctor in a Box there is still a chance that diagnoses are a little less accurate than face-to-face interaction with a doctor. Obviously I think though that this won’t be as much an issue if the Doctor in a Box is just used for easy diagnoses or refilling prescriptions. I think that some problems could arise with the software used, depending on how the patient “signs in” or whether they just arrive and turn the screen on. If the patient has to enter any information so that they can be billed for the visit or something like that it could be troublesome making sure all the information remains safe and secure.
    Overall I think that the technology has a lot of potential and would be very useful in all places where medical attention is hard to access – small towns, or areas where there has been increases in clinic use (where clinics are finding they are too busy to handle all the patients), or in seniors homes or complexes. I could also see it being very useful in particular for teens and young adults – where the Doctor in a Box provides a greater sense of anonymity and is easy to access for questions or health concerns, especially those about sex issues or STD’s.

  16. Ahmed Awad

    As technology advance we are expected to have crazy and wild idea like this. With the increasing demands for doctor and healthcare there always is a need for new innovative way to revolutionize how they function. To me the main purpose of this is to take some pressure off doctors. This is ideal because it will save time of the patients; this means that there wouldn’t be a wait in line or booking an appointment (in the near future). It also is a great idea because the time and money that is going to save. To install such a box would cost as much as hiring a real doctor. And being available most the days that the doctor is no working is bonus. Even though this box would not replace the doctors but it will be a medium between the patient and the doctor. This is good idea for places that are isolated or within a hard to reach doctor. Say you live in the far north in Yukon so you wouldn’t have to travel to nearest doctor but you can simply connect to him wherever he/ she is. Also this box has the majority of necessary equipment that the average doctor uses every day. However for an average city where they might have a surplus of doctor this box might be necessary. Also the inability to handle emergency situation is downfall for this box. And once again this box is not to replace doctor but to cut down the gap between doctors and patients.

  17. Kristina Madarasz

    I think that this type of health care appeals to the group of people who don’t go to the doctor because of the inconvienence and therefore wouldnt go to the doctor’s at all because of this fact. Now that these moblie units are available these people that have gone without healthcare for years might finally be able to get some health attention they need. Maybe they have diabete’s and never knew it and can finally get it treated. Or maybe they found out that the rash they have had forever is really and allergy.

    I think that the situations that this type of medical care would be most appropriate for or advantageous to is the less fortunate or the population under the poverty line. Although our healthcare is free in canada, some people may not be able to easily access a doctor’s office because they are too poor to own a car and therefore live too far away to get to a doctor’s office. With these mobile health care units, they would be able to come to areas where people are less fortunate and treat them. Maybe someone with a serious mental health problem that has gone untreated or another underlying medical issue will finally get the help that they need from these moveable medical units.

    I think that these medical units are the way of the future. I think we will start to see more things like this in the bigger cities such as vancouver, edmonton, calgary, and toronto. And maybe eventually smaller cities like Lethbridge, Red Deer…etc.

  18. Kai Zhao

    1Yes, I do think this health care thing has a bright future. As people’s requirements and needs are getting higher and higher, more convenient and easy technics are being expected from various aspects. In this case, health care is definitely one of the most important issues that people would concern about. Especially when most of us pay for our health care insurance every single year, we want to make sure everything is going good, and be able to get services from doctors or hospitals no matter what time we want. That would take hospital staff a lot of work to meet people’s expectations. Hence, this type of health care from the commercial advertisement is going to be strongly recommended and well rated from both hospital staff and patients.
    2.When doctors are out of work, this type of medical care will be most appropriate. We can not expect that doctors are 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, they get to have their personal time for family, vacation, and personal interests stuff. Therefore, when there is some emergent issues going on during midnight, hospital will be still available by installing this type of medical care. Furthermore, in north America, this is a shortage for nurses and doctors, by using this type of medical care, it can reduce the workload burden on doctors and nurses, and increase job efficiency. There are people who do not really know if there is something going wrong with themselves, type of medical care could handle some simple cases as well.

  19. Calvin Chu

    As technology is improving over the year, I believe this type of health care has a bright future and I do find it is useful and helpful. First, I predict this new technology will attract more people and will become more popular and wide use in the future. Also I suggest Hong Kong government to also use this technology. Why? This technology save a lot of time. In Hong Kong, you have to line up for few hours/sometime even longer to get a doctor to see you for a while because of the size of the city and the Population. With this technology everyone do not have to make an appointment and wait a day to see a doctor which save time, money and man-hour. It is convenient. For example, in case if something emenigence happened, this technology can help you immediately. According to the article, this technology is not as expensive as I espect. In one sentence, this technology has the potential to improve and i consider it will be useful in the future.
    Althought I said it is useful and helpful above. This technology is still developing. It takes time to test if it is work or not. It is risky to use if this technology is not accurary yet. It is not reliable now. It might told you that you are fine when you are actually sick. They also need to provide some guide line on how to use this technology. They have to make it easy to use as there might be a lot of people not familiar with this new technology. Anyway, I suggest people who feels really bad to see doctor instead of using this technology until it is fully developed.

  20. Jingyi Wang

    Yes, in my point of view I think this type of technology will become more and more popular in the future. First, it is can save time, because you do not need to wait in line and set an appointment with the doctor in order to get treatment or detect your deseas. This is box is just like an ATM, it can be anywhere, the patient can go into and get connect with the doctor at anytime, even when their kids needs an emmergency treatment in the midnight, you can help them immediately. Second, it saves money, bcause this box doesn’t cost a lot of money as a hospital does. Then the money can be used in the eqquipment development and setting inside the box, so that the box can help in more desease and dose more experiments.

    Until now, I think this technology has not been fully developed, it still need time and test to get mature, so I think the box now is suitable for detecting simple diseases. It can test blood pressure, give you an oppotunity to contact with the doctor in a regular basis, and do the basic tests. If you feel really bad you should go to the hospital and see the doctor face to face , so they can have a directly view of what kind of diseases you get. There is also a problem that they need to train people to learn how to use the machine in order to get correct record.

  21. Tammie Tuccaro

    With the advancement of technology over the years, people are more intrigued and likely to use these types of machines as they are curious to see if they will really work. I do think that this would help to ease the amount of people going into the hospital emergency rooms to be treated for minor illnesses, especially if they don’t have a family doctor. Also, may help with the demand that doctors experience in their offices and leave those visits for people who actually need to be examined by a doctor. My only concern is how are prescriptions written? But I am sure that they would just be printed off in the booth and a confirmation system in place between the doctor issuing the prescription and the pharmacy.

    I come from an isolated community in northern Alberta, where my community doesn’t have a hospital or a doctor to see. We have a couple of nurses who work during the day, paramedics are on call in the evenings in case of emergencies and when there are serious incidents then an air ambulance is dispatched. The medical staff that we do have on hand, use video conferencing with doctors in Fort McMurray when they need help. So I think something like this would be beneficial in my community as it would help to lessen the workload on the nurses who are so busy seeing patients and fit more people in when they need to be treated for minor illnesses.

  22. Sean Annis

    I think that in the future this sort of technology is going to become more popular and maybe even more necessary to meet the growing demand for healthcare professionals. I believe that this doctor in a box could be used to speed up assessments of people such as those who wish to go to the walk in clinic to get a prescription for antibiotics. I know personally that when i go to the doctor i usually know what the issue is. but i still spend the three or more hours in the office just to get a written prescription. i think this could help identify who actually needs emergency care and who does not. Also there is a factor of cost saving. Although a doctor will have to be available all the time, this will likely save on paperwork and transportation costs. The downside to this technology is that there is a possibility for misdiagnosis and there is no actually contact with the doctor which could diminish and strain the doctor-patient relationship.
    But with the way our culture is developing around the use of technology i feel this will become less and less of a problem.

    As i said earlier, i feel the best application will be for walk in clinics and maybe even emergency rooms. Those who come in but are not in dire need, or just want to get a prescription, will be able to speed up the process and save the hospital value time and money. I think it is a good idea, but as for now the technology is young and our culture has yet to adopt technology into the role of the family doctor. I will happen just not right now.

  23. Matthew Malm

    When dealing with medical issues, I believe accuracy is of the uttermost importance. Misdiagnosis happens from time to time in the professional industry, but it is generally yielded with a series of educated assumptions that are not being met by the professional. With an algorithm relying on pictures and subjective information, there is room for large variances. If a person is suffering from multiple problems, the algorithm would not return multiple results. The person may start taking prescription drugs for one illness that has a negative effect on the other. I would hope in that case that said person would consult a medical professional before relying on a fallacious result.

    There is, however, a nice opportunity here to exploit. Software developing companies can team up with medical professionals to write code that offer e-consultations with professionals. A doctor could charge on a visit basis and as long as their medical expertise is credited. This could eliminate strenuous waiting times and offer patients help at home. Some unfortunate people who require an in-house doctor could eliminate absorbent expenses by getting consultations via telecommunications. In addition, medical positions that require technical knowledge could be eliminated through text based definitions appearing at the bottom of a video screen. Again, doing medical tests based on pictures, which are subjected to difference color combinations from different lighting, are not accurate and generally yield harmful results. Would you trust your life to a professional in a different field then medical? I know I would trust my life in the hands of a garbage man or service industry worker….


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