Atrium Health and Best Buy Health have forged a significant partnership. Through this union, Atrium Health will take advantage of Best Buy’s infrastructure and technical strengths to help provide a wide range of services, including remote patient monitoring (RPM), to people who receive care at home. And the Geek Squad is in on the deal. Best Buy’s famed tech team will do in-home set-ups of wearable RPM technology that the Atrium Health team monitors 24/7.
A subsidiary of the consumer electronics company Best Buy, Best Buy Health specializes in technology solutions for home healthcare. This Atrium Health union is the latest move in the retail giant’s expansion into that space. In 2018, Best Buy acquired GreatCall (Now Lively), a personal emergency response and connected health service. In 2019, Best Buy picked up the senior monitoring service Critical Signal Technologies, and in 2021, it acquired the care-at-home platform Current Health.
Atrium Health, which serves nearly 3 million people, is one of the nation’s leading nonprofit health systems and offers a number of telehealth services. Health at Home, Atrium’s flagship program, provides telehealth services and in-person visits from paramedics. These on-site healthcare professionals can treat conditions including pneumonia, asthma, COPD, infections, and more. The paramedics arrive in vehicles loaded with gear one traditionally finds in a hospital setting, such as an ultrasound machine and a 12-lead ECG. The paramedics can take blood samples for later analysis at the hospital and travel with a large stockpile of medications commonly dispersed in a clinical setting. A patient can have a video visit with a physician while the paramedic is there, with the paramedic taking notes for follow-ups. In essence, the patient gets a “hospital at home” experience.
Beyond the tremendous cost-saving aspect of avoiding hospital visits, this high level of remote care is critical for many who can’t easily travel to hospitals or clinics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that over 46 million Americans (about 15% of the U.S. population) live in rural areas. And that there is an alarming healthcare gap between rural and urban Americans. The CDC says people who live in rural areas are more likely than urban dwellers to die from heart disease, chronic lower respiratory disease, and other conditions.