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Doctors surgeries, who needs them? Soon we'll just get a blood test, diagnosis and the packet of pills at an ATM instead!

Doctors surgeries, who needs them? Soon we'll just get a blood test, diagnosis and the packet of pills at an ATM instead!

An article in this week's 'The Scientist' magazine caught my attention.

Opinion: Health Booth 2020

Using a SMART card containing your genetic information and medical history, you could one day soon be diagnosed and treated for all kinds of diseases at an ATM-style kiosk.

By Pushkar N. Kaul | February 4, 2013

Here's an extract:

Imagine this scenario. A passenger (Mr. P) riding in a car suddenly starts feeling unusual symptoms. He stops at the next health booth (HB)—an ATM-like machine for patient health checkups. As he enters the HB, the patient is asked, “How may we help you?” He verbally describes the symptoms and inserts his H-SMART card, uploading his personal health data. The patient is asked to insert a finger into a slot for a quick blood draw. In a few minutes, the system will analyze various biomarkers in the blood, and display them along with the normal ranges, highlighting any abnormal values. Finally, the computer displays the diagnosis, and may even offer medication via an automated pharmacy in the booth.

Data privacy will be ensured by the continually improving encryption technologies used in banking and commercial transactions. The booths will be manned by a new breed of physician who will be trained as both a computer technologist and a health care professional, and will evolve with time to include additional radio-diagnostic tools and robotic surgical set ups.

Read the full article here:

Picture is actually of a 'Cup Cake ATM' which is apparently in the St Enoch Centre in Glasgow.

7 Replies


The Demolition man movie springs to mind, first an ATM counsellor service saying 'you are a wonderful person, blah blah, joy joy feelings, be well'

in plain words the default won't be 404, but maybe 'it's all in your head' go away and think about it....

sorry, maybe a bit of a cynic here, but I do have the right to put salt on my food! lol! Jane :D


lol spare ribs, your comment was funny and very true indeed ( wouldnt that be great ey)

still laughing, would put smiley face but dont no how


the machine may show more compassion than our GP! ;)


ha ha, yer more compassion, time and a full diagnoses, with drugs as well. ( brill) bring it on.

like spair ribs say, the ones suffering will be told its all in your head lol and the normal patients will be told they have problems.



As long as the basis of knowledge on which the machine has been programmed is correct. It could say there is nothing wrong with you, your blood results are within range. That said, I would prefer a machine to my dopey GP.


Could it turn round and "say" 'It's all in your head. You are depressed/menopausal/anxious. Have some anti-depressants and omeprazole.'?

If not, it is clearly going to be a hopelessly inadequate replacement for a GP. :-)

And part of the problem today is that knowledge which is well researched, and fully accepted by many experts, is still not being implemented at GP level. So any machine intelligence would likely be an improvement on them.


Yes, it could. It all depends on who programmes it. In fact the whole idea is today's tick-box medicine taken to an extreme. The doctor has simply been eradicated. I agree with you about the knowledge being well researched and accepted, but unfortunately not by the professional bodies that set guidelines for doctors and who train them and write textbooks, in particular the RCOP and British Thyroid Association and professors like Anthony Weetman. However, I am grateful for the knowledge and experience of my private doctor, but not to the medical profession in general or to the particularly hopeless GPs I have seen, who cause great harm and distress.