Best Buy sees growth in health care technology for elderly

Consumer electronics chain hopes to provide 5 million seniors with health monitoring services

FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2019, file photo, the Best Buy logo is shown on a store in Richfield, Minn. Best Buy Co., the nation’s largest consumer electronics chain, says it plans to expand its remote monitoring services of seniors to 5 million from 1 million in five years. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

The nation’s largest consumer electronics chain, known for selling TV sets, cellphones and laptops, is looking to health care as a big source of its future growth.

Best Buy Co. said Wednesday that in five years it hopes to provide 5 million seniors with health monitoring services, which can range from sensors placed throughout a home to a pendant worn around the neck. It currently provides the service to 1 million.

It’s part of the chain’s deeper push into the $3.5 trillion U.S. health care market and essential to its goal of reaching $50 billion in annual revenue by 2025.

The Minneapolis-based chain is tapping into an aging U.S. population, noting that two out of three seniors live with two or more chronic conditions and many want to stay at home.

Best Buy is also looking to dig deeper into health care at a time when it, like other retailers, face uncertainty regarding an escalating trade war with China. Some of its core businesses, like TVs and phones sales, have been sluggish, although it says the consumer electronics business is stable.

The strategy comes as Best Buy has succeeded in holding off increasing competition from Amazon and other players by speeding up deliveries and adding more services to deepen its relationship with customers.

“This is an environment driven by constant innovation and people who need help with technology,” CEO Corie Barry said at an investor conference Wednesday where executives unveiled a five-year growth plan.

Best Buy has been on buying spree of its own to boost the health care business.

READ MORE: B.C. funds pilot program to get more seniors doing gymnastics

In May, it acquired Critical Signal Technologies, a provider of personal emergency response systems and telehealth monitoring services for at-home seniors. In August, it acquired the predictive health care technology business of BioSensics, including the hiring of the company’s data science and engineering team. Last year, it bought GreatCall, which provides emergency response devices for the aging.

It also hired its own chief medical officer to push those efforts: Daniel Grossman, a physician, will report to Asheesh Saksena, head of Best Buy Health.

Insurers have been paying more for remote monitoring technology to help track issues like chronic conditions and keep patients healthy and out of hospitals. That technology can include special wireless scales to monitor patients with congestive heart failure.

Saksena told investors that pendants using certain algorithms can track how a senior is walking and predict the risk of falling. He also noted that sensors on refrigerators detect how often it’s being used. That can trigger a call by GreatCall agent to see whether that person has been eating.

AP Health Writer Tom Murphy in Indianapolis contributed to this report.

Anne D’Innocenzio, The Associated Press

READ MORE: OPP looking for suspect after Best Buy credit-card fraud in Surrey

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Get Outdoors! Our lake of many colours

Take a look at what’s behind Kalamalka Lake’s colours

Black Lives Matter protester stands alone in Vernon

Rumblings of a citywide protest continue across social media platforms

Water restrictions in place for Armstrong

City of Armstrong switches water source to wells, still safe to use

Youth recreation programs making a comeback in Enderby

Enderby and District Recreation Services is offering three youth programs for the month of June

Burned out car be gone thanks to Vernon dealership, ski resort

Bannister GM Vernon and SilverStar Mountain Resort team up in road cleanup

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Vancouver Island First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

Police seek help identifying person of interest in Salmon Arm arson investigation

A fire in a garage was extinguished but it is being treated as an arson.

Penticton Search and Rescue respond to six calls in less than a week

Two hikers rescued in early morning search near Greyback Lake latest in series of searches

Regional District of Kootenay Boundary rescinds all Grand Forks-area evacuation orders

Evacuation alerts for 1,136 Boundary properties remain in effect as officials monitor forecasts

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

In photos: Modified, yet traditional graduation gives Penticton graduates a sense of normalcy

Students around Penticton take part in pre-recorded graduation ceremonies

Filming to resume safely later in June: Okanagan Film Commission

Film commissioner Jon Summerland said they want to start filming again later in June

Kelowna RCMP investigate woman’s sudden death

Criminality is not suspected at this time, according to RCMP

Most Read