Best Buy’s GreatCall Teams Up with Insurer to Provide Remote Patient Monitoring

GreatCall, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) that makes technology for seniors hoping to age in place, has signed a five-year deal with a Massachusetts health insurer to provide in-home, passive monitoring devices to its high-risk members.

As part of the newly announced deal, San Diego-based GreatCall will bring its Lively Home monitoring system into the homes of eligible Senior Whole Health members to help identify trends linked to negative health outcomes. The Lively Home monitoring system is similar to most home security setups and comprised of a series of sensors attached to doors, refrigerators, cabinets, toilets and other parts of the home.

Acquired by electronics retail giant Best Buy in August for $800 million, GreatCall then uses those sensors to gather and analyze data, creating a picture of seniors’ activities of daily living over time, Chief Commercial Officer Bryan Adams told Home Health Care News.


“We use the data with some sophisticated analytics to determine when a person’s activities show enough evidence of changing that it warrants some sort of intervention,” Adams said. “By using this system and intervening early, we can create significant reductions in the total cost of care, drastically reducing inpatient skilled nursing and long-term care usage through just very small increases in primary care, pharmacy and outpatient [services].”

A common insight revealed by the Lively Home platform is a change in bathroom activity, often indicative of a potential urinary tract infection, he said. In one instance, the platform helped show how a senior was no longer receiving regularly delivered meals because of a major snowstorm — and thus in danger of malnutrition.

A 2016 study conducted with insurer Fallon Health found that the Lively Home system could reduce monthly medical costs by up to $687 per plan member.


“It essentially allows you to be more preventative and less reactive in providing care for that senior,” Adams said.

Senior Whole Health — a Magellan Health Company — is a Massachusetts comprehensive health care plan that manages dual Medicare and Medicaid health plans for seniors. There is no cost for the installation of GreatCall’s in-home, passive monitoring devices for eligible members who opt into the service.

The deal between Senior Whole Health and GreatCall took form before Best Buy’s purchase, Adams said. Moving forward, Lively Home installation will be performed by the retailer’s Geek Squad team.

GreatCall expects to add the systems to about 1,000 homes overall, he said. In addition to Lively Home, its services include Jitterbug, a mobile phone application with large buttons for easy usability.

Seniors in the program with Senior Whole Health also will receive GreatCall’s Lively Mobile emergency response solution.

Senior Whole Health’s members eligible under the new agreement typically are already receiving some form of home care services, Adams said. Data gathered via the platform is shared with health plans, which may then share the data with physicians or home-based providers that they’re coordinating with to provide care.

“We will typically share our information with someone at the plan who’s a case manager, a person who is the quarterback of the care team and makes sure the home care agency is coordinating with the physician, who’s then coordinating with social workers, family members,” Adams said.

Best Buy’s GreatCall acquisition was part of the retailer’s 2020 growth strategy, which is focused on enriching lives through technology by addressing key human needs, including health and wellness.

Similarly, the retailer’s Assured Living program has consumers purchase a suite of products supporting aging in place, such as motion sensors for beds and doors, Wi-Fi enabled doorbell cameras and smart thermostats that can pair with smartphones. Geek Squad workers also install devices in customers’ homes under that program as well.

Written by Robert Holly

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