ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Taking that step to get to the doctor just got as easy as going to the mall. There’s a new clinic in the 5th Avenue Mall that could open doors for easier and less expensive access to medical care in remote parts of the state.
Capstone Express is the first telemedicine clinic and kiosk service that's open to the public in Alaska.
Using digital stethoscopes and otoscopes, Owner Dr. Wade Erickson says once it's up and running, a medical doctor will basically be holding a virtual appointment while located at Capstone’s clinic on Boniface. If patients need a higher level of care, an in-person appointment will be made immediately. The new service could drive down health care costs dramatically.
“If we can save an ER visit, which is thousands of dollars or even an urgent care visit, which is usually hundreds of dollars, for some of the simple things,” said Erickson.
Erickson hopes to eventually expand the service to more remote parts of the state where there aren’t many treatment options.
“It provides an access point for health care for those folks in the Downtown area that may be from out of the city or may be working down here and it also provides a snapshot of what telemedicine could be like for them if they live in a remote community,” said Erickson.
The 5th Avenue Mall was chosen as a location because there are no other medical service options within the central city grid.
The clinic officially opens Tuesday. Hours of operation will coincide with mall hours: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Sundays.
Another location will open at the Dimond Center Mall in the spring with plans to expand to more areas in the state.