The race to move health care into the home is on, and a growing number of major retailers are officially in the running.
In just about a week’s time, news broke that Walmart (NYSE: WMT), Amazon (NYSE: AMZN) and Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) are all separately making moves in the space. As the federal government continues to incentivize home- and community-based care, these big businesses and others are betting those will be the care settings of the future.
Most recently, Best Buy officials announced Wednesday that the electronics company is looking toward in-home senior care as a large source of future growth. Specifically, leadership announced its goal to provide 5 million seniors with health monitoring services in five years.
Morgan Stanley hinted at the news in a recent research report even before it was announced.
“We don’t think the market fully grasps Best Buy’s commitment to health,” Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in the report.
Potentially, Best Buy could eventually be bringing in a whopping $46 billion in long-term revenues, the firm contends. Currently, the company only posts about $43 billion in overall annual revenues.
Best Buy’s interest in home-based care isn’t new. In 2018, it purchased GreatCall, which develops and sells smartphones, medical alert devices and other tech products that help seniors age in place.
Then, earlier this year, the Richfield, Minnesota-based company also acquired Critical Signal Technologies, a company that makes remote products, also designed for aging in place.
“In our view, Best Buy is assembling what could prove to be a formidable ecosystem focused on senior health, which it can use its nationwide footprint to scale over time,” Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in the report. “Looking ahead, we believe Best Buy’s deeper push into health monitoring, related efforts to reduce medical expenses for insurers, and right to share in the cost savings represent a significant revenue and profit opportunity in the long term.”
Meanwhile, Amazon and Walmart have taken a different approach.
When it comes to in-home care, Amazon is getting its toes wet with employees first. Last week, the company announced the rollout of Amazon Care, a new virtual care clinic pilot available to Seattle-based employees and their dependents.
Users can chat with a doctor remotely via text or video. They also have the option to receive in-home follow up care and get prescriptions delivered to their door, according to Amazon.care.
And the online retail giant has expressed interest in expanding the pilot if things go well — something we’ve seen the Seattle-based company do in the past with other employee benefits.
Finally, Walmart is getting in the home-based care game with a prototype of its new Walmart Health clinic, which features an Amedisys Inc. (Nasdaq: AMED) kiosk designed to help educate customers and potential patients on home health services.
The first location opened earlier this month in Dallas, Georgia, adjacent to a Walmart store. Inside the 10,000 square-foot facility, patients can access a “variety of services,” a Walmart spokesperson previously told Home Health Care News.
“Among them is home health, hospice and personal care, so if a customer has questions or needs information, they can discuss with the on-site partner, Amedisys.” the spokesperson said.
On top of that, Sam’s Club — which is owned by Walmart — announced a new health care pilot, Sam’s Club Care Accelerator, in partnership with 98point6 and Humana.
The goal is to reduce health care costs by giving members access to bundled healthcare services and text-based doctors who are available 24/7 for just $1 per session. The pilot is set to test in Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, with the potential for a larger rollout later.
While efforts from all three big-name retailers are in their early stages, they have the potential to disrupt the home-based care industry. Plus, these moves and incentives from the federal government to transition more care into the home will undoubtedly inspire more large corporations to join the home-based care race in the months and years to come.