best buy is one of several retail giants making their way into healthcare. The healthcare division, called Best Buy Health, focuses on combining in-home care for the elderly and technology-enabled human interaction.
Diana Gelston, Chief Commercial Officer at Best Buy Health, sat down with us Mobile Health News to discuss Best Buy’s role in the healthcare ecosystem and what the company expects from a partner.
MHN: How is Best Buy Health different from the other big retailers entering healthcare?
Diana Gelston: When we look at things, we want to look at everything that really makes home care possible. We really focus on three areas: at-home wellness, then at-home aging, and then at-home care. So anything that can really enable that at-home care, and I’m sure there are other companies that are going into the portfolio of enabling at-home care, maybe it’s a joint venture or a partnership. It might be an acquisition in the future, but it’s really about making that at-home care possible. We don’t want to be the caretaker per se like other retailers do.
And I think that’s what makes Best Buy different. We enable the connection between doctor and patient, for example. We facilitate connections between a care manager at a payer and a senior. And then we enable caregivers.
Very different from other models out there. Other models out there want to do the care at home or have the pharmacy delivered to their home. That’s not what we do.
MHN: Best Buy Health partnered with Charlotte, North Carolina-based healthcare system Atrium Health and acquired Current Health’s home care and remote patient monitoring platform. How have these collaborations helped expand the company’s offering?
Gelston: As for the Current Health acquisition, we’ve definitely seen in the pandemic everyone scrambling to either set up telemedicine practices or try to make those connections between the patient and the doctor at home and keep people at home, instead of adding more people into the system.
With the acquisition of Current Health, we realized we needed devices to monitor patients remotely in the home. And how do you get the devices to remotely monitor patients at home? how to connect it How do you make sure the batteries work?
How do you make sure the caregiver and the patient know how to use it? How do you ensure that the connection between the doctor actually works? And what we do is we actually just curate the consumer and consumer health devices to monitor patients remotely. So with Current Health’s enterprise platform, we have multiple layers of support that really connect both the devices and the technology, the connection between the patient and their provider.
And then we have support layers, including Geek Squad going over the threshold into someone’s house to help train people, set up the surveillance gear, make sure it works, make sure the wifi works, and sometimes a Geek Squad person, not because she’s hungry, but they open the fridge and make sure that person has food and is taken care of.
So all these little things that happen when you go the last mile and cross the threshold to support technology and the connections between doctors and their patients.
MHN: What does Best Buy Health want to do next? Does the company intend to move into new areas of home health care?
Gelston: I think the real challenge for people is to get the logistics right and make sure we have them because we started using Geek Squad above Threshold about 18 months ago to remotely monitor patients as well as the Support Current Health platform and devices. And so we started using them. We started using Geek Squad City for logistics. And there are many places we can go.
And we just want to continue to expand this to more healthcare systems and more payers, and that’s where we’re going.
MHN: So you’re going to see what payers and healthcare systems really want to offer?
Gelston: I think that as payers, as a healthcare system, and as consumers of health and senior housing, but also as regular consumers, we strive to enable that home care or home well-being and make sure we have all the resources and all the opportunities to all the support of care, both proactive in terms of well-being and reactive in terms of a hospital-to-home program, and along that continuum to ensure we can support that infrastructure over time.
MHN: What role do mergers and acquisitions and the development of partnerships play in this?
Gelston: So I think when we think about expanding our footprint, when we think about expanding our partnerships with healthcare systems in particular, we look to those who are at the forefront but also need help expanding their reach of care to areas in where this is possible can be a challenge.
And we want to make sure that there is health equity in everything we offer, that all of the populations we can serve are engaged by our solutions, and that we offer solutions that we offer.
MHN: What type of digital health company stands out to you or makes an impression on Best Buy Health?
Gelston: Oh, there are many digital health companies that we are amazed by every day. The market is constantly changing. I think those who bring a path that complements our work and our ability to work together will always be of interest to us.
MHN: So, take a look at what Best Buy Health already has to offer and how they can help the company expand its operations.
Gelston: Yes, through partnerships. We speak to and are already bringing many different technologies to the market, not just ours. We work with many partners and as part of a larger retail organization we are able to look at a lot of different technologies through a retailer’s lens. I think that’s also what makes us unique.