Revolutionizing Health Care: Drug ATMs on Every Corner

It's possible that we could get our prescriptions from a free-standing kiosk in a pharmacy or a grocery store (or elsewhere) in the future. At least, that's what Walgreen  (NASDAQ: WBA  ) invested in when it put money behind MedAvail, a company whose website claims that "just as the ATM transformed the retail banking experience, MedAvail is transforming the prescription fulfillment experience."

This exciting technology could help consumers avoid long lines and restrictive pharmacy hours. The function is simple: Someone could fill a prescription by simply going to a small kiosk, feeding in their prescription information, and then video-chatting with a pharmacist before paying and immediately receiving their medicine.

This technology offers some notable benefits for the consumer: Speed, personalization (the short consult with the pharmacist), and convenience. Of course, the opportunities for companies looking to place the kiosks are manifold too. According to a MedAvail presentation, the upfront expense of one of these kiosks is $100,000 versus $1.5 million or more for a full-service retail pharmacy. And with lower staffing requirements and a small real estate footprint, there are even more exciting opportunities with this disruptive technology.

In the video below, from Market Checkup, the Motley Fool's health care-focused investing show, health care analysts Michael Douglass and David Williamson lay out the opportunities for this interesting startup and the potential to dramatically change how pharmacies work.

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Michael Douglass

As the Motley Fool's Health Care Editor/Analyst, I focus on all things health care -- although my greatest interest is in the megatrends reshaping the American health care system, including the Affordable Care Act, Accountable Care Organizations, a shifting regulatory landscape, and the new drug discoveries fundamentally changing disease management and treatment.

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