Self-Screening Stations Coming to Walmart — 2,500 of Them

(Illustration by Kaiser Health News from photo by Walmart via Flickr)

(Illustration by Kaiser Health News from photo by Walmart via Flickr)

By Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News

Perched by a computer monitor wedged between shelves of cough drops and the pharmacy in a bustling Walmart in Sterling, Va., Mohamed Khader taps out answers to questions such as how often he eats vegetables, whether anyone in his family has diabetes and his age. He tests his eyesight, weighs himself and checks his blood pressure as a middle-aged couple watches at the blue-and-white SoloHealth station advertising “free health screenings.”

Such programs raise a red flag for some consumer advocates who worry the “advice” might be an advertisement.

“You may not go to the doctor every year, but you come to Walmart often,” says the fit-looking 43-year-old Khader who lives in nearby Ashburn, Va. “I get bored while my wife is shopping. This is a time killer. I’ll come back in two months or so, and track my results.”

A burgeoning consumer health industry is betting that millions of consumers will do just that. Continue reading