Best Buy and Atrium Health set in-home hospital care deal
Best Buy’s Geek Squad will install healthcare equipment that powers a hospital-at-home program for Atrium Health, a North Carolina-based nonprofit.
Best Buy is best known for installing televisions and home theater systems. Now his geek squad is helping set up virtual hospital rooms.
The consumer electronics retailer announced Tuesday that it has inked a three-year deal with Atrium Health, a North Carolina-based healthcare system, to facilitate a hospital-at-home program. Atrium Health is part of Advocate Health, one of the largest not-for-profit healthcare organizations in the country.
Best Buy’s Geek Squad will go to patients’ homes, set up technology that will remotely monitor their heart rate, blood oxygen levels, or other vital signs, and train the patient or others at home on how to use the devices. The data would then be securely shared with doctors and nurses via Current Health’s telemedicine hub.
Best Buy began deploying virtual care systems for 10 hospitals in and around Charlotte, North Carolina in mid-February. The company said it aims to enroll about 100 patients in the program each day — roughly the equivalent of a medium-sized hospital but without the building.
Best Buy and Atrium did not disclose specific financial terms, but said Atrium will purchase Best Buy’s devices and use Geek Squad services for installation and retrieval when the patient is discharged from care. Patients pay for Atrium through their insurance, including Medicare or Medicaid.
Best Buy Health President Deborah Di Sanzo said the Geek Squad is running the facility, leaving doctors and nurses free to focus on patient health.
“This smoothes that connection between technology and care,” she said.
For Best Buy, the Hospital-at-Home program represents the latest push to make healthcare a more significant revenue driver. Healthcare expansion comes as sales of other consumer electronics slow.
Best Buy, like retailers like Walmart and Target, have seen consumers buy less expensive and discretionary items as they pay more for food and housing. Many consumers also bought or upgraded their laptops, smartphones, kitchen appliances and other similar products in the early years of the pandemic.
The retailer expects same-store sales to fall between 3% and 6% in the fiscal year, with most of that decline coming in the first six months.
In the last five years, Best Buy has acquired three healthcare companies: GreatCall, which makes easy-to-use cell phones and connected healthcare devices, and provides emergency services for aging adults; Critical Signal Technologies, another senior-focused company; and Current Health, a UK-based technology company that helps with remote patient monitoring and telemedicine. Best Buy also sells health and wellness devices, including hearing aids and fitness trackers.
In an earnings call last week, CEO Corie Barry said Best Buy expects sales in its healthcare division to grow faster than the rest of its business this fiscal year.
However, Di Sanzo noted that Best Buy’s home health care business “is still very much in its infancy” and the revenue from it “is still very small.”
“We want to do this thoughtfully,” she said. “We want to do this well. We want to create ways that enable more seamless care at home. We want to combine technology and empathy and really help transform the way healthcare is delivered to people in their homes.”
Atrium Health launched its hospital-at-home program out of necessity at the start of the pandemic, as patients sickening with Covid overwhelmed its hospitals and filled its intensive care units, said Dr. Rasu Shrestha, Chief Innovation and Commercialization Officer at Atrium.
He said the healthcare system sees the program has lasting benefits and could work for patients with other types of conditions, such as: B. People recovering from heart disease, infection, or surgery. It costs less than hospital care and allows patients to recover while being surrounded by loved ones and the comforts of home, he said.
Patients in the program are medically stable, Shrestha said. Some are discharged from the hospital or go directly to the hospital-to-home program after visiting the emergency room.
To date, Atrium Health has served over 6,300 patients under the Hospital-at-Home program, he said.