While acknowledging that it is not a major revenue driver yet, Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) has publicly committed to the further expansion of its home-based care capabilities.
Its most recent move in the area is a big one: a partnership with Atrium Health, one of the biggest health systems in the country. That news was officially announced on Tuesday.
The new partners will be developing “new hospital-at-home offerings that will enhance the patient experience of receiving hospital-level care in the home,” according to a release.
“Our view is that hospital at home is one of the most important innovations in U.S. health care in the last several decades,” Chris McGhee, CEO and co-founder of Current Health, told Home Health Care News. “Atrium has an incredible strength in that area. They’ve got the largest hospital-at-home program in the country. They’ve been generating incredible outcomes from that. And we believe that by combining the strengths of Best Buy Health and Atrium Health, we can scale it … because hospital at home is still a tiny percentage of overall beds in this country.”
Best Buy acquired the Boston-based Current Health – a home-based care enabler – in October 2021. Since then, it has emerged as one of the retailers working to become drivers of home-based health care, alongside the likes of Walgreens Boots Alliance (Nasdaq: WBA), Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN), Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and CVS Health (NYSE: CVS).
In December, Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health merged, creating one of the five largest hospital systems in the entire U.S. Together, the two will be officially dubbed Advocate Health moving forward, with a network comprised of 67 hospitals, 21,000 physicians and nearly 42,000 nurses.
“There’s maybe 1,000 beds in hospital at home at the moment versus 900,000 inpatient beds,” McGhee said. “And what we want to do, together, is make that scale and make it something that is a chunky percentage of U.S. health care delivery.”
Atrium Health began caring for patients under a hospital-at-home program during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like others, it mostly treats patients for conditions like COPD, pneumonia, asthma and various infections.
The partnership will also leverage Best Buy’s Geek Squad agents to assist with “logistics and technical support.”
For now, Best Buy and Current Health are focused on scaling in Atrium’s key markets and with the payers in those markets, McGhee said.
Advocate Aurora Enterprises, a subsidiary of Advocate Health, also acquired the large personal home care franchise Senior Helpers in the spring of 2021. It is not clear if Senior Helpers or its caregivers will be involved in hospital-at-home care delivery in the future, however.
“I think this partnership further reflects the fact that Atrium sees hospital at home as strategically important to them in the future,” McGhee said. “But it also reflects the fact that they want it to be at scale, and not just a small part of how we deliver care, but a big part of how we deliver care. And I think that’s because that’s what the consumer wants as well.”