There are two truths in modern healthcare: patients want to recover at home and healthcare professionals need a way to easier utilize the technology available to provide care at home and improve patient outcomes. That is where Best Buy Health comes in.
Best Buy Health enables care at home for everyone, and to do this, focuses on three strategic areas: wellness at home, ageing at home and care at home.
Best Buy Health built its strategy on the strengths of the Best Buy brand including its holistic retail channels that offer the health technology customers need, its expansive distribution channels which help get customers technology quickly and their ability to help customers with their tech products right inside their homes through Geek Squad. No one has the combination of these abilities at scale like Best Buy does.
“Technology is at the centre of everything Best Buy Health does and more than ever, the role of technology in healthcare is becoming a crucial component of delivering care to patients and improving their experiences and outcomes,” explains Jean Olive, chief technology officer at Best Buy Health.
Olive is responsible for all information and technology systems, product research, design and development for Best Buy Health.
“Technology is already in our homes and we know that healthcare is coming into our homes but requires complex technology to make it successful—that’s why we focus on what we do best. We’re not looking to actually provide the care for patients, we’re enabling the care by building an ecosystem that supports the entire care at home process.”
Throughout her career, Olive has worked for companies where she personally connected with their purpose. She previously worked in aerospace and defence and then Philips Healthcare. In 2021, she jumped at the opportunity to get back into healthcare after experiencing the need for transformative technology.
“My dad had congestive heart failure and the last four months of his life were extremely difficult,” Olive explains. “It was during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and he ended up in the hospital for monitoring three times and was unable to have anyone visit him. The whole time I was thinking that his quality of life would have been better if he could have been monitored at home – and life would have been less stressful for my Mom and our family caring for him if they were able to do so at home.
The day of his funeral, Olive got a message from Deborah Di Sanzo, President of Best Buy Health.
“I knew it was time for me to get back into health and focus on delivering technologies solutions in the home to improve patients’ and caregivers’ lives as well as the quality of care for patients,” Olive says.
One year and seven months into this role, Olive was recognised as a leader in wellness at home.
“It's wonderful that we're really getting recognition,” she says. “Nobody wants to be in the hospital, but when people are at home, we know that they eat better, they sleep better, they move more, and they're with their family and pets!”
“We do know however, that in some circumstances where patients are receiving care at home, they can experience loneliness. That’s why we work so hard to provide care with our suite of products and services through the Lively brand as well as our Caring Centres, staffed by real people who can help with a variety of health-related needs including everything from medical emergencies, scheduling appointments or just providing comfort to those who need it.”
Kevin McLellan is a principal at PwC Strategy& as well as one of the leaders in its MedTech strategy and growth practice, with his work focused on helping MedTech companies grow and expand their impact with patients and health systems.
Unlike Olive, McLellan landed in healthcare quite accidentally.
“Both of my parents were speech pathologists, and I grew up in their speech and hearing clinic, which, for a young kid, was not very exciting” he says. “I said I would never work in healthcare. Interestingly, I also said I'd never be a consultant!”
But what led McLellan to healthcare is not dissimilar from Olive’s story.
“My kid sister got breast cancer and we lost her too early; in her mid-thirties. About the same time, I had been working in high tech for 15 years and had the opportunity to serve a big healthcare client, quite unexpectedly. As I got into it, I very quickly realised that I was enjoying doing work in the healthcare space far more than I was in the high- tech space. I feel passionate about finding ways to improve healthcare delivery and continuing to drive change in an industry that really needs to change rapidly to meet the needs of patients in a digital age.”
PwC and Best Buy Health have worked together to drive a technology transformation that enables continued growth and that expands the reach of the Best Buy Health services that help so many patients and caregivers improve healthcare.
How Best Buy Health supports the ageing community
For those aging at home…
People are living longer and the population is increasing, but studies show once someone has to leave their home for an assisted living centre or a nursing home their quality of life can significantly decline. Best Buy Health helps improve that experience for everyone – even those living in rural area who may not have previously had access to the healthcare they need to live longer and live safely.
“Our Lively brand offers everything from flip phones to pendant alarms,” explains Olive. “Our products are best-in-class. They have fall detection, as well as emergency response buttons connected to our Caring Centres for human interaction and help with a variety of needs.”
Lively’s health and safety services can also be accessed through smart devices like Amazon’s Alexa.
“Patients can just say ‘I need help’ and they will be connected our care centre,” says Olive.
Imagine if you’re a caregiver for your aging parent and they live alone in their home. Something comes up unexpectedly and you’re unable to visit them that day and as a result, your parent experiences a deep feeling of loneliness. Using one of our Lively devices, your parent contacts our Caring Centre and is connected with an empathetic employee who provides them with a sense of comfort. In addition to this example of loneliness, our Caring Centre employees can help with a variety of other needs including helping to provide emergency medical assistance, scheduling appointments and more.
“The caregivers really need this peace of mind. So, we connect back to them to ensure they understand what is happening with their loved ones with the help of our Lively app,” says Olive. “As the caregiver, if your loved one presses the HELP button, you’re alerted. Caregivers are willing to invest in these technologies to help their loves ones feel safe and to give themselves peace of mind knowing there are others out there helping provide care to their loved one.”
For those receiving care at home…
Through Current Health, a recent acquisition made by Best Buy Health, the platform collects patient data from across various health technology devices recommended by providers for their care at home program and then ensures the data is shared with the patient’s care team. This data helps monitor a patient’s progress and can allow providers to adjust a care plan in real-time if needed. Current Health also offers a Clinical Command Centre managed by nurses who monitor systems and check vital signs as a first line of defence to any triage that needs to occur during the care at home experience.
“For example, if your blood pressure goes up, a nurse from the Clinical Command Centre will call the patient to discuss the change. Sometimes the reasoning can be easily explained by a patient: ‘I know. Yesterday, I went out to eat and had bunch of salty appetisers,’ and other times it might be something we need to further investigate. This is how we can monitor patients so that they can stay at home and stay healthy.”
Olive envisions a tipping point for at-home care.
“We know people want to receive care at home rather than stay in a hospital and our goal is for them to be able to do that as well as to advocate for themselves by understanding what is possible with the help of technology,” says Olive. “That's what we’re after – consumerization of healthcare and enabling people to make better, more informed decisions about their own care.”
Technology transformations in healthcare
Best Buy Health is working with PwC to help build the technology and service delivery capabilities that will enable Best Buy Health to deliver a higher-quality patient and caregiver experience while lowering health care delivery costs and improving the quality of care.
“We have good customer master data that helps us promote our campaigns and gather knowledge about our customers, so we can support them in their needs,” said Olive. “We're building a new ERP platform. We'll have much better order management and supply chain processes enabling technologies to support the demand while delivering customer success.”
Although Best Buy Health has a lot of data, it can be a complex process to leverage it all.
“One of the most interesting areas mentioned is that you have both the real-time data coming from the devices that are touching the patient, and then you have a bunch of longitudinal information that you build over time,” says McLellan.
“One of the big challenges in healthcare data is that everybody says ‘AI is our saviour’, but the challenge is that the data's very fragmented. So, constructing a data set that allows you to train new AI algorithms is actually very challenging. If you look at what Best Buy Health is building, it's an important example of how longitudinal data – structured the right way – can actually unlock a lot of insights.”
Being able to respond more predictably and accurately has the potential to lower the burden on health systems and healthcare professionals.
“Our health systems are under such tremendous financial pressure at the moment,” says McLellan. “Driving this transformation in care at home, well, it's hard to understate the importance of it.”
Best Buy Health’s transformation is an investment that delivers significant business value and speeds up the business building process.
“PwC can provide us with a deep knowledge across the industry that enables us to move faster,” says Olive. “When we have issues, we can team up together to solve the problem.”
PwC has been thrilled with the chance to help Best Buy Health accelerate towards their future goals and the world they’re building.
“They're helping to build the future of healthcare – that's really true,” says McLellan. “What we strive to do is to bring our experience to help them achieve their goals.”
PwC works with many companies on technology transformations, helping them to avoid pitfalls while also offering the breadth and depth of their experience.
“We wake up every day and work to enable transformative change for our clients and the patients they serve,” says McLellan.