Best Buy is one of several retail giants that has made its way into healthcare, with its health division dubbed Best Buy Health focusing on uniting home-based senior care and tech-enabled human interaction.
Diana Gelston, chief commercial officer at Best Buy Health, sat down with MobiHealthNews to discuss Best Buy’s role in the healthcare ecosystem and what it looks for in a partner.
MHN: How does Best Buy Health differ from the other large retailers getting into healthcare?
Diana Gelston: When we look at things, we want to look at anything that really does enable care at home. We really focus on three areas: the area of wellness at home, then aging at home, and then care at home. And so anything that can really enable that care at home, and I’m sure there are other companies out there that come into the portfolio of enabling care at home, maybe it’s a joint venture or a partnership. It could be an acquisition in the future, but it’s truly about enabling that care at home. We don’t want to be the caregiver per se like other retailers are.
And I think that’s what makes Best Buy different. We’re enabling the connection between, for example, the physician and the patient. We’re enabling connections between a care manager at a payer and a senior. And then we’re enabling caregivers.
Very different than other models out there. Other models out there want to do care in the home or want to deliver pharmacy to the home. That’s not what we do.
MHN: Best Buy Health partnered with Charlotte, N.C.-based healthcare system Atrium Health and acquired home care and remote patient monitoring platform Current Health. How have those collaborations helped expand the company’s offerings?
Gelston: In terms of the acquisition of Current Health, we definitely saw in the pandemic everybody was scrambling to put together either telehealth practices or trying to make those connections between the patient and the physician in the home, and keeping people at home, as opposed to adding more people into the system.
So with the acquisition of Current Health, we really recognized that we needed to have remote patient monitoring equipment in the home. And how do you get the remote patient monitoring equipment in the home? How do you connect it? How do you make sure batteries are working?
How do you make sure the caregiver and the patient know how to use it? How do you make sure that that connection between the physician is actually working? And what we do is we really just curate that remote patient monitoring consumer and consumer health devices. So we have layers of support with Current Health’s enterprise platform that really connects both with devices and technology, that connection between the patient and their provider.
And then we have layers of support, including Geek Squad, that goes across the threshold into somebody’s home to help train people, get the monitoring equipment set up, make sure it’s working, make sure that the WiFi is working, and sometimes a Geek Squad person, not because they’re hungry, but they’ll open up the refrigerator and they’ll make sure that that person has food and is being cared for as well.
So all those little things that happen when you go beyond the last mile and go across the threshold to help support technology and those linkages between physicians and their patients.
MHN: What is Best Buy Health looking to do next? Is it looking to get into any new areas within home healthcare?
Gelston: I think that really the challenges that people are facing are getting those logistics correct and making sure that we have, because we started using Geek Squad across the threshold about 18 months ago to support remote patient monitoring, and the Current Health platform and devices. And so we started using them, We started using Geek Squad City for logistics. And there are a lot of places for us to go.
And we just want to continue to really expand this into more health systems and more payers, and so that’s really where we’re going to be going.
MHN: So you’re going to see what payers and health systems really want to offer?
Gelston: I think as payers, and as health system, and as consumers of health and senior living, and also just regular consumers look to enable that care at home or enable that wellness at home, making sure that we have all the resources, all the capabilities, all of the support of caring for, proactively in terms of wellness, as well as reactively in terms of a hospital at home program, and all along that continuum, making sure that we can support that infrastructure over time.
MHN: How do mergers and acquisitions and building partnerships play a role in that?
Gelston: So I think, as we think about expanding our footprint, as we think about expanding our partnerships with health systems particularly, we look to ones that are on the leading edge, but also who need help in expanding their reach of care into areas that may be a challenge.
And we want to make sure that there’s health equity across whatever we offer, that the entire population that we can serve is being addressed through our solutions, and enabling solutions that we bring to the table.
MHN: What type of digital health companies, in particular, stand out to you or make an impression on Best Buy Health?
Gelston: Oh, there are plenty of digital health companies out there that we are impressed by every day. The market is changing at every moment. I think that those who are bringing a way that can complement what we do and our ability to collaborate together will always be of interest to us.
MHN: So, looking at what Best Buy Health already has to offer and seeing how they could help it expand what it is doing.
Gelston: Yeah, through partnerships. We speak with and we bring a lot of different technology to the table already today, not just ours. We partner with many, and being a part of a larger retail organization enables us to look at a ton of different technology through the lens of a retailer. So I think that’s also what makes us unique.