AI-powered pods being created to give self-service medical exams without doctors

Dec 8, 2023 | Political News

Artificial Intelligence is ramping up in the healthcare industry and now patients can draw their own blood and take their own vitals due to a new advancement appearing up in American cities.

The AI technology is called a CarePod and it is being described as a self-contained doctor's office, according to Axios. It uses “proprietary digital technology and AI-supported clinician reviews to develop highly personalized health plans and track progress via mobile phones.”

The machine, which is created by Forward, takes baseline readings of metabolic functions, draws blood, scans for skin cancer, provides mental health screenings, and more.

Adrian Aoun, the founder and CEO of Forward, explained how the machine functions to Axios. It first takes baseline readings of a patient's metabolic function that can be assessed over time.

“It basically loads up a bunch of different apps for you to play with,” Aoun said, describing what will happen once a patient steps inside the pod.

“Let's say you choose the body scan app,” he continued. “This is pretty cool. It's like, ‘Please stand still,' and then it rotates you in a circle, takes a whole bunch of readings, shows you those readings on the screen, explains them to you.”

If a patient were to choose the “heart health” app, “it actually opens a tray and hands you a sensor, shows you how to hold that sensor against your heart, takes the readings, then explains them to you.”

In addition, the CarePod allows patients to draw their own blood. Aoun explained the process feels like a “leech or hickey” suctioned to the arm.

“In two to four minutes, this starts to fill up with blood,” he said while placing a small vacuum suction chamber onto his upper arm to draw a sample.

“There's no needle, there's no knife, and nothing hurts right now,” Aoun told Axios.

Furthermore, skin cancer screenings and mental health evaluations can also be done inside the CarePod. Aoun explained that even more tests will be added in the coming future.

“We're constantly launching new sensors,” Aoun told the outlet. “So almost think of us a little like the iPhone” in the beginning days of Apple.

Despite the global shortage of medical professionals, Aoun sees the CarePod as a means of achieving widespread deployment of fundamental healthcare services.

“You're never going to scale doctors and nurses to the whole planet,” said Aoun. “So instead we said, ‘Well, instead of healthcare being a service, maybe we should rebuild health care as a product.'”

“Maybe we should take every single thing that doctors and nurses are doing, and just slowly but surely try and migrate it over to hardware and software,” he told the outlet.

Patients can sign up to use the CarePod for the price of $99 per month. The company does not take insurance, according to Forward.

With plans to roll out many more in 2024, the first three CarePods are in Sacramento, California; Chandler, Arizona; and Chicago’s Willis Tower.