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Will Best Buy/Mass General Finally Boost Home Health?

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  
   November 09, 2023

The Boston-based health system is the third to collaborate with the retailer on programs that shift care from the hospital to the home.

Mass General Brigham has announced a partnership with Best Buy Health to reinforce its acute care at home and remote patient monitoring (RPM) programs.

The Boston-based health system, one of the first to develop a hospital at home program and post studies proving positive clinical outcomes, joins Geisinger and Atrium Health in partnering with the retail giant, which jumped into the healthcare space with its purchase of Current Health in 2021. The collaboration gives the health systems a consumer-facing platform through which selected patients will be supplied with the appropriate medical equipment and have access to technical support.

“At Mass General Brigham, we are building the integrated healthcare system of the future across the entire continuum of patient care needs,” Heather O’Sullivan, MS, RN, A-GNP, president of Mass general Brigham’s Healthcare at Home program, said in a press release. “As a recognized leader of Home Hospital services, we understand that consumers are increasingly choosing the comfort of care at home as an alternative to traditional, facility-based delivery settings. By enabling our world-class provider services with technology that matters, we are elevating system capabilities and, most importantly, improving clinical outcomes for the communities we serve today while preparing for the future delivery of care more broadly.”

Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital were two of the first hospitals to launch acute care at home programs in 2016, before merging in 2020. The health system has treated more than 3,000 patients in its Home Hospital program, including nearly 1,000 this year, and recently received federal and state approval to expand the platform to treat patients from three more hospitals.

Acute care at home programs, which combine digital health and telehealth with daily in-person care visits, have grown in popularity since the pandemic, as health systems look to shift more services out of the hospital and into the home. The program enables health systems to reduce costly and staff-intensive in-patient services, while giving patients the opportunity to recover in their own homes, which studies have shown to improve clinical outcomes. The Centers for Medical & Medicaid Services has its own version of the platform, which requires hospitals to follow strict guidelines for Medicare reimbursement.

Through the Best Buy partnership, patients have access to the Current Health platform, including Geek Squad services, in which a team from the retailer is dispatched to the patient’s home to assess the home environment, install the right equipment and train patients on how to use the devices.

"We're fundamentally changing healthcare," Chris McGhee, Current Health’s founder and CEO, said during an interview at this year’s HIMSS conference in Chicago, noting the Best Buy can pick and choose the technology needed to make the best and most reliable connections between a patient in the homes and his or her care team at a hospital. "Hospitals value that curation."

Mass General Brigham officials say the partnership will not only bolster their existing programs but help develop new ones.

Eric Wicklund is the associate content manager and senior editor for Innovation, Technology, and Pharma for HealthLeaders.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

Acute care at home programs, which have become popular since the pandemic, combine digital health and telehealth with daily in-person visits, enabling selected patients to be treated at home rather than in a hospital bed.

Best Buy Health offers health systems a consumer-facing platform, helping to assess a patient’s home, select the right medical equipment for home-based care, and train patients on using the technology, as well as giving them on-demand technical support.

Healthcare executives see the partnership as an opportunity to outsource technical and supply chain aspects of the program and focus on the clinical care pathways.


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