By John Brice
Demonstration days were held during the third week of February 2023 at the newly established Chambers County Community Health and Wellness Center in LaFayette. Located in the same building which had formerly operated as the Chambers County Out-Patient Clinic at 404 9th Avenue Southwest until its shuttering several years ago, the recently renovated healthcare facility features a state-of-the-art medical technology known as the OnMed Telehealth Station. Visiting members of the news media as well as representatives from local government, business and community organizations were given hands-on demonstrations of the cutting-edge diagnostic device.
According to a February 9th press release posted on the Auburn University Office of Communications and Marketing official website, the futuristic apparatus which is “employed by Auburn’s Rural Health Initiative was developed by Florida-based OnMed to make affordable health care accessible to all. The OnMed care stations provide 85% of the services received in a traditional primary care visit, using best-in-class devices to capture patient vitals. Clinicians are available for extended hours. Patient visits are private, safe and secure, and the care station is automatically cleaned and sanitized for the next patient.”
Glass and metal form the structure that could best be described as a large walk-in kiosk that some may imagine to be a spacious ultramodern version of a telephone booth which could have been envisioned long ago in a science fiction film such as 2001: A Space Odyssey or the golden age of television classic cartoon The Jetsons.
Upon entering the soundproof station its glass door closes, locks shut and a high-tech tinting effect is employed so as to render itself completely opaque which in turn shields the occupant from any outside visibility thus guaranteeing their privacy. Front and center inside are a massive vertically aligned LCD screen mounted on the interior wall standing before the patient which displays welcome messages that transition into the initial intake video conference with the certified nurse assistant. During that brief assessment the CNA gathers the information needed for the nurse practitioner or medical doctor to conduct the virtual exam once the patient is transferred to them.
Deploying a multitude of medical devices installed inside the station, the guest has their weight measured by a digital scale embedded in the floor that they stand upon. Body temperature, oxygen levels and blood pressure are all monitored during the exam by the installed diagnostic tools as well as high-definition cameras that can inspect the eyes, ears, nose, throat or skin to detect potential health issues while they are being interviewed. Prescriptions can be dispensed onsite with a professional prognosis or sent to the patient’s preferred pharmacy. After exiting the station, intense UV lighting shines on and cleanses the interior surfaces of any viruses, bacteria or other pathogens that may linger.
LaFayette Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services Chief James Doody has shared the much-welcomed news that extensive upgrades at the recently launched healthcare facility have ensured that it is certified to meet Americans with Disability Act standards for accessibility.
As of March 1st, the center will be open for new patients to visit Monday through Saturday from 7am until 11pm CST and on Sundays 12pm until 6pm. For the first 60 days after opening the OnMed telehealth services will be provided free of charge after which point there will be a $45 fee for a visit utilizing the facility.
Auburn University President Christopher B. Roberts will be attending an open house public event for the Community Health and Wellness Center which is scheduled for April 21st so make sure to save the date and join with fellow members of the local community in celebrating this momentous occasion where LaFayette and Chambers County will take one giant leap for mankind into the future of medicine!