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Reaction to Best Buy Health partnerships: ‘HME companies must innovate’ 

Reaction to Best Buy Health partnerships: ‘HME companies must innovate’ 

HME NewspollYARMOUTH, Maine – Best Buy Health’s recent partnerships with five of the 10 largest health systems to provide remote monitoring, telehealth and patient engagement services in the home is a sign the big box retailer is crossing over into HME territory, according to 77% of the respondents to a recent HME Newspoll. 

Most recently, Best Buy, which acquired Current Health in 2021 and before that GreatCall in 2018, announced in March that it had a new partnership with Atrium Health, which has 40 hospitals and more than 1,400 locations, to help the health system advance its hospital-at-home offerings, already reportedly the largest in the country. 

“This will turn the industry on its head,” wrote one respondent. “The traditional model is slow to respond to patient care transition. Notice how many payers are acquiring the delivery models – providers and home care services to integrate and streamline the delivery of care. This segment will continue to expand.” 

During a conference call to discuss its most recent financial results, Best Buy also divulged it has partnerships with, among others, Geisinger, Mount Sinai Health System and NYU Langone Health. 

In response to retailers like Best Buy trying to wedge their way into home care, one respondent wrote, “HME companies must innovate, or their products and services will become low-margin commodities.” 

“Innovators and disruptors will always cross the line – it’s integral the process,” the respondent wrote. “For example, it is now common for payers to provide physician primary care services and patient monitoring, so for a company like Best Buy that has been selling health wearables for years, the apparent intrusion into HME is really a normal course of business. Atrium-Best Buy patients and stakeholders will help steer the fulfillment process for HME products and services, like it or not.” 

Another respondent agreed, writing “HME is poised to become Uber-drivers for medical equipment if they don’t rethink their business models.” 

“The home care market is changing fundamentally,” the respondent wrote. “Home care is transforming into home-based care, which includes new segments like hospital-at-home, primary care at home, etc. The administrative side of home-based care is also transforming via technology and capitation.” 

But not all respondents see Best Buy as a threat, with one respondent writing that the company’s presence in the home could actually allow clinicians to focus on patient care. 

“My understanding is that this is more to provide tech services for the at-home monitors to free up clinicians from getting calls regarding connection problems, etc.,” the respondent wrote. “This can free up the clinician to spend more time on patient care instead of problems, as long as this is the space Best Buy stays in. Leave the DME to experts and the clinicians that have done a great job. This can bring more awareness and can solve problems to advance hospital-at-home initiatives.” 

The majority of respondents think Best Buy is not the most threatening of retailers getting into home care. They listed CVS Health, which owns Signify Health and Coram, as best positioned to gain traction in the market, though Amazon also got several mentions. 

“The industry is maturing, and cash is increasingly a payment source,” one respondent wrote. “Amazon is already our biggest competitor.” 


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