Health-kiosk manufacturer |

Health-kiosk manufacturer

John Seelmeyer

Computerized Screening Inc., the Reno company that’s placed thousands of blood-pressure monitors in pharmacies and grocery stores across the nation, is beginning to gain traction in the marketplace with a vastly more sophisticated kiosk.

The company has sold about 15 of the new, $20,000 units since they were introduced in late November, and Charles Bluth, CSI’s president and chief executive officer, says the company is fielding requests for information from hospitals and clinics.

The pitch: The new kiosks automate much of the labor-intensive work faced by the healthcare industry when it first encounters a patient.

Inside the privacy of the curtain that surrounds a CSI kiosk, a patient enters his medical history into a highly secure database. He details the symptoms that brought him to a physician’s office or a hospital emergency room. Technology in the kiosks checks his weight, his blood pressure, his pulse and his body’s


And in some installations, the patient can discuss his health with a physician over a video link.

The new kiosk represents a personal passion as well as a business opportunity for Bluth, who says the company has spent $20 million over the past eight years in development of its medical kiosks.

The average cost of a visit to an emergency room in an American hospital runs more than $1,500, he says, and two-thirds of the visits are unnecessary.

“What we’re about is keeping people out of the ER,” Bluth says.

At the same time, he says, savvy corporations are paying more attention to wellness programs and they’re figuring out that unattended kiosks such as those manufactured by CSI are a cost-effective way to provide health-related information to their employees.

Among the biggest recent challenges to CSI, says Bluth, has been development of systems that meet federal standards for patient privacy.

The medical records created in CSI’s kiosks are uploaded to a server farm in Florida, where they’re protected by five layers of security layers that include a personal identification number selected by the patient as well as a scan of his thumbprint.

The technology positions CSI to profit from a federal mandate requiring the creation of electronic medical records for all Americans by 2014. The company’s kiosk is the only equipment of its type to win certification from the Food and Drug Administration.

Bluth says another promising market is prisons, where the kiosks can gather medical information from prisoners without the heavy costs and potential danger of transporting them from one location to


Privately held CSI employs about 45 people in its South Meadows office and manufacturing facilities. That number, Bluth says, could grow to more than 250 as the newest health kiosk technology gains market acceptance.

The company’s founder made his fortune in real estate development and owned the Cal Neva Resort Hotel at Crystal Bay until about four years ago. These days, Bluth devotes all his attention to CSI.

Along with the thousands of relatively simple blood-pressure stations that CSI has sold since 1978, the company also has supplied early versions of its medical kiosk to locations ranging from big-city Skid Row clinics to rural Alaskan communities.

“We want a complete clinic in a kiosk,” says Bluth.

Much of the company’s focus in recent months has been on development of disease management systems.

As thousands of results of medical tests are gathered, he says the company will be able to provide statistical analysis to help physicians and nurses more quickly identify the illnesses that patients are suffering.