Best Buy and Atrium Health reach an agreement on hospital care at home

Best Buy’s Geek Squad will install healthcare devices that power a hospital-at-home program for Atrium Health, a North Carolina-based nonprofit.

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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 on Tuesday that it has entered into a three-year agreement with Atrium Health, a North Carolina-based health care system, to help set up a hospital-at-home program. Atrium Health is part of Advocate Health, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health care organizations.

Best Buy’s Geek Squad will visit patients’ homes, set up technology that remotely monitors their heart rate, blood oxygen levels, or other vitals, and train the patient or others to home using appliances. The data would then be securely shared with doctors and nurses through Current Health’s telemedicine hub.

Best Buy began rolling out virtual care systems in mid-February for 10 hospitals in and around Charlotte, North Carolina. The company said it aims to have around 100 patients in the program each day – roughly the equivalent of a medium-sized hospital but without a building.

Best Buy and Atrium did not disclose specific financial terms, but said Atrium will purchase the devices from Best Buy and use Geek Squad’s services for installation and recovery when the patient is discharged from care. Patients will pay Atrium through their insurance, including Medicare or Medicaid.

Best Buy Health president Deborah Di Sanzo said that with Geek Squad doing the setup, it leaves doctors and nurses free to focus on patient health.

β€œIt smooths out that connection between technology and care,” she said.

For Best Buy, the hospital-at-home program represents the latest push to turn health care into a more meaningful revenue generator. Its expansion into healthcare comes as sales of other consumer electronics slow.

Best Buy, like retailers such as Walmart and Target, has seen consumers buy fewer big-ticket and discretionary items as they pay more for food and lodging. Many consumers also bought or upgraded their laptops, smartphones, kitchen appliances and other similar products during the early years of the pandemic.

The retailer expects same-store sales to decline between 3% and 6% over the fiscal year, with most of the decline occurring in the first six months.

Over the past five years, Best Buy has acquired three healthcare companies: GreatCall, which makes easy-to-use cell phones and connected health devices and provides emergency response 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 telehealth. Best Buy also sells health and wellness devices, including hearing aids and fitness trackers.

During an earnings call last week, CEO Corie Barry said Best Buy expects sales of its healthcare division to grow faster than the rest of its business this fiscal year.

Di Sanzo, however, noted that the homecare side of Best Buy’s healthcare business is “still very nascent” and the revenue from it is “still very small.”

“We want to do it in a thoughtful way,” she said. “We want to do it right. We want to create journeys that enable care at home in a more seamless way. We want to link technology and empathy and really help change the way healthcare is delivered to people with residence.”

Atrium Health began its hospital-at-home program out of necessity at the start of the pandemic, when sick Covid patients flooded its hospitals and filled its intensive care units, said Dr. Rasu Shrestha, chief innovation officer and marketing at Atrium.

He said the healthcare system sees the program as having long-lasting benefits and may work for patients with other types of conditions, such as people recovering from heart disease, infection or heart disease. surgical intervention. It costs less than hospital care and allows patients to recover while 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 entered directly into the hospital-at-home program after visiting the emergency room.

So far, Atrium Health has served more than 6,300 patients through the hospital-at-home program, he said.

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