Costco's interactive kiosks provide health info to Canadians

October 15, 2010

Costco Wholesale Corp.'s Ontario, Canada, region is testing interactive kiosks to educate pharmacy customers about medications and Costco health events.

Costco Wholesale Corp.’s Ontario, Canada, region is testing interactive kiosks to educate pharmacy customers about medications and Costco health events.

This summer, 25 Costco pharmacies in Ontario installed Aisle 7 kiosks as part of a pilot project. The kiosks may be expanded to Costco stores in the United States, but that decision has not yet been made, said Rick Duffy, assistant vice president of pharmacy for Costco’s Eastern U.S. and Canada division.

The kiosks from Aisle 7, a company in Portland, Ore., contain self-care educational materials on nutritional supplements and how they correspond with specific prescriptions, generic and brand drug information, and health events from Costco. “We have had pretty significant usage by members in our pharmacies. The frequency of usage is greater than I had anticipated,” Duffy said.

The kiosks, which are located near the pharmacy checkout and adjacent to the waiting area, also provide information on drug and nutrient interactions, as well as recommendations on “which supplements, foods, and nutrients to consume and which things to avoid,” said Bill Schneider, senior product director for Aisle 7. “What Costco is most interested in is providing their customers access to prescription information, but also the complementary products that consumers should consider to make their prescriptions more effective,” Schneider said.

Costco is also using the kiosks to post information on its pharmacies’ health clinics, which are held about every other week. The clinics include topics such as diabetes, heart health, and smoking cessation. Costco can also use the kiosks to highlight certain health themes, such as diabetes during National Diabetes Month in November. “The kiosk would have articles on how to manage or live with Type 2 diabetes and which supplements could work well in regulating glucose levels,” Schneider said.

Meanwhile, Costco is evaluating members’ use of the kiosks, determining the frequency of use at each store and the topics that members are most interested in. “I suspect the frequency of use at each location differs because of the staff. The staff has to make sure customers are aware of the device being there,” Duffy said.