Best Buy, Google Join Outsiders in Push to Capture Remote Patient Monitoring Boom – PYMNTS.com

Born of pandemic necessity and a graying U.S. population, remote patient monitoring (RPM) is breaking out all over, as its growth potential draws in retailers such as Best Buy and Big Tech stalwarts like Google in a shift that is seeing outside players aggressively moving into the space.
In what is increasingly the domain of key retailers that are building out products and infrastructure to support the care needs of America’s aging populations, connected home healthcare has become increasingly crowded and competitive.
While Amazon and Walmart are the headline-grabbing face of retail home health advances, consumer electronics chain Best Buy has spent the past several years making strategic investments in the space that are coalescing into new ecosystems.
In its latest move to advance a growing remote patient monitoring (RPM) portfolio, on Sunday (Nov. 13) Best Buy and RPM platform Coeus h3c announced that the retailer has “made an initial investment in the company and will use the Home Health Hybrid Cloud (h3c) to accelerate customer access to the full benefits of its home health devices and solutions.”
Coeus h3c is a cloud-based RPM ecosystem used to coordinate in-home digital health devices and data for a more seamless experience for patients and providers.
“We’re committed to enabling care at home for everyone, and we’re continually seeking new ways to apply our core capabilities in omnichannel retail, in-home services, logistics, caring centers, and technology with our leading home health solutions for wellness, aging in place and managing health conditions at home,” Best Buy Health President Deborah DiSanzo said.
“We invested in Coeus h3c because they’re uniquely able to help customers benefit from the full potential of these solutions, allowing us to deliver on the vision of living well to as many as possible,” DiSanzo added in a press release.
One of the few surviving pre-internet consumer electronics chains once dominated by names like Circuit City and Radio Shack, healthcare is a core strategy that’s kept Best Buy relevant, starting with its acquisition of Great Call and the Jitterbug phone for seniors in 2018.
In 2019 Best Buy acquired RPM service Critical Signal Technologies, then the Current Health care-at-home tech platform in October 2021. In August 2022 Best Buy received FDA clearance to sell over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids without needing a prescription.
Rebranding Great Call as Lively in 2021, Best Buy partnered with Amazon to incorporate Alexa voice skills and Apple Watch urgent care into its care-at-home product line. Lively announced new subscription tiers in October, offering a basic package ($24.99/month) and a Premium package ($34.99/month). Both have urgent medical alerts and the Lively Link smartphone app.
Lively is halving the price of its Jitterbug Smart3 smartphone through Cyber Monday (Nov. 28).
Additionally, Modern Healthcare reported in October that Best Buy home computer repair service Geek Squad is doing a pilot with Pennsylvania-based regional provider Geisinger Health where Geek Squad staffers will “help set up the equipment and educate consumers on it.”
See also: Best Buy Jumps Into Hearing Aids After FDA Clears OTC Sales
Google Doubles Down on RPM Data
Best Buy’s announcement came out of the HLTH 2022 conference underway in Las Vegas through Wednesday (Nov. 16), as did Google’s announcement on expanding Healthcare Data Engine (HDE) accelerators which help healthcare providers extract more value from unstructured patient data.
Becoming available early next year, global director of Google Cloud’s Healthcare Strategy and Solutions Aashima Gupta said, “these accelerators, developed collaboratively with healthcare organizations, will solve a range of industry pain points, and they will unlock the truly transformative power of interoperable longitudinal patient records.”
As hospital-at-home announcements have heated up over the course of the pandemic, payments technology is keeping pace as well. In a recent interview, healthcare-as-a-service FinTech Lynx Co-founder and CEO Matt Renfro told PYMNTS’ Karen Webster that the multipurpose digital healthcare wallet is set to disrupt health payments as RPM is care delivery.
Visualizing a digital wallet to replace the plastic and paper cards patients and customers must keep track of now, Renfro said, “nothing stops the plan from reimagining the insurance ID card to also be the consolidated healthcare wallet,” he said. “Why would I carry a separate HSA? Why would I carry a separate Walmart gift card when I perform a healthy behavior? We provide sophistication from a card processing standpoint.”
The trend is gaining serious moment, as the ConnectedEconomy™: Omnichannel Healthcare Takes Center Stage, a PYMNTS and CareCredit collaboration, found that nearly half (46%) of consumers surveyed as using a mix of physical and digital channels to receive care now.
See also: Why It’s Time for the Connected Healthcare Wallet
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