Want to get mHealth and other medical devices into seniors’ homes? Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) and its Geek Squad may be the way in the door.
“For companies looking to bring healthcare interactions into the home, we could be a fairly useful partner,” Asheesh Saksena, president of Best Buy Health, told hundreds of medical device industry insiders gathered in downtown Minneapolis last night for the Medical Alley Association’s annual meeting.
“We are going to do our best to help seniors live a little longer and independently in their own homes,” Saksena said.
Seniors, their family and caregivers, their health providers and their health insurers all have an interest in keeping them active in their homes as long as possible. But achieving this goal will require partnerships including “interesting new bedfellows,” according to Saksena.
“We intrinsically believe we can help stitch together some capabilities that can connect the health infrastructure to the home, a place where healthcare transactions typically don’t happen,” Saksena said. “The fact that we can send people into the home, the fact that we can install technology in the home, … check in on the person, make periodic calls as part of our own business models — [it’s] particularly helpful.”
Best Buy’s outgoing CEO Hubert Joly — whom retail industry experts credit with turning the Richfield, Minn.–based company around — lists health and wellness among the six basic needs that the company wants to fulfill for its customers. The company last year announced it was spending $800 million to acquire GreatCall, a provider of connected health and personal emergency response services with more than 900,000 paying subscribers.
Last week, New York–based Tyto Care said its TytoHome home medical exams device would start selling exclusively on BestBuy.com and in select Minnesota stores, with the devices coming soon to Best Buy stores in North Dakota, South Dakota, California and Ohio.
Best Buy plans to expand its health business by scaling both GreatCall consumer devices and services — as well as commercial monitoring service — with a focus on seniors, Joly said during a February earnings call transcribed by Seeking Alpha.
“As children of aging parents, many of us would appreciate the potential power of our health monitoring service that enables seniors to live longer in their homes, while reducing related healthcare costs,” Joly said. “We’re currently in pilots with a number of managed care organizations. And over time, we believe this could become a material growth opportunity for us.”
Best Buy is also bringing in more healthcare expertise. For example, it announced in October that Cindy Kent was joining its board. Kent most recently was president and general manager of the Infection Prevention Division at 3M Co.
It’s a big deal that Best Buy has made so many moves into the healthcare space — all within a two-year window, said Kent, who joined Saksena onstage during last night’s Medical Alley event.
“One of the greatest strategic pivots in the history of this company is its declaration of winning and being in healthcare,” Kent said.