Best Buy’s Geek Squad has been handed a task that’s a lot more sensitive that setting up your living room’s surround sound system.
The electronics retailer has partnered with Atrium Health to set up virtual hospital rooms in people’s homes. That technology would remotely monitor patients’ vitals, including heart rate and blood oxygen levels. (The data is shared with healthcare officials via a telemedicine hub.)
Patients will not have to pay Best Buy directly for the setup and eventual retrieval of the equipment. All billing will go through Atrium, which will work with insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid.
“We’re excited to leverage our expertise … to connect patients and providers,” said Deborah Di Sanzo, president of Best Buy Health. “Those strengths, combined with Atrium Health’s extensive clinical expertise and deep experience leading in virtual care, will help us improve and enable care in the home for everyone.”
For Best Buy, it’s an expansion of its Current Health remote patient monitoring system, which the company launched in 2021. The company has said it expects the health care push to become a notable revenue driver, but has warned investors it will be a slow ramp.
“We are excited about the momentum of care at home, but it is still a nascent emerging part of the healthcare industry,” CEO Corie Barry said on the company’s most recent earnings call. “We are essentially nurturing a start-up within a large-scale organization and leveraging Best Buy’s core assets, including the Geek Squad, to incubate a new business. The revenue contribution is currently very small and will take time to ramp as the care at home space matures and expands over the coming years.”
Atrium Health launched the virtual hospital room program during the pandemic, when hospitals were overflowing with patients. The company has since evolved the program to include conditions such as cardiac, COPD, pneumonia, asthma, various infections and other medical and post-operative conditions.
The program is less expensive than a typical hospital stay and relieves some stress, as patients can be around loved ones and the comforts of their day-to-day environment.
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