Q&A: Best Buy’s resources are expanding Current Health’s reach
Home care and remote patient monitoring platform Current Health offers a technology platform that uses biosensors to monitor a patient’s condition at home and identify when they might need help from a clinician.
Best Buy acquired the Boston-based company in 2021, adding to the retail giant’s portfolio of remote patient monitoring and senior care companies.
Adam Wolfberg, Current Health’s chief medical officer, joined MobiHealthNews to discuss how the acquisition has expanded Current Health’s reach and what he’s most excited about in 2023.
MobiHealthNews: Why did Current Health consider Best Buy to be a valuable partner?
Adam Wolfberg: To the extent that we’re enabling care to move into the home for individuals who are either very sick – like in our hospital-at-home programs or living with a chronic disease, like our low-acuity, large population health programs for patients who have congestive heart failure or hypertension – we fit pretty nicely into the Best Buy Health strategy.
Best Buy Health’s mission is to enable care at home for everyone. Current Health represents the third major acquisition that Best Buy Health made to fulfill that vision. We represent the high-acuity end of the technology spectrum. On the low acuity end are the Lively products and services. So, purpose-built smartphones and pendants with fall detection built in and then a very well-trained call center [GreatCall] that will support aging Americans who need a little bit of either support or who need a safety net when they’re at home.
And so you wrap it all together and you have this sort of full spectrum of technologies – a very robust set of services to support patients at any sort of stage in their life.
MHN: How has Best Buy contributed to the company that’s helped improve its product offerings, especially in regard to improving patient healthcare?
Wolfberg: The best example is the work we’re doing with Geisinger. Geisinger tends to be a rural population, older, middle- to low-income, a Pennsylvania population. And one of the challenges is that, say we’ve got a patient with heart failure who’s at home, who receives a Current Health monitoring kit and they may struggle to set it up. The Geek Squad arrives at the home within a few hours of the kit arriving. The Geek Squad sets it up, teaches the patient how to use it, and makes sure it’s working, making sure it’s streaming vital signs to the Geisinger healthcare provider who prescribed it in the first place.
We didn’t have that kind of nationwide team to support these patients who do have barriers to using technology. They want to use technology, and once they get going, they’re perfectly able to use the technology. But getting it going requires a little bit of handholding, and so it’s perfect synergy with Best Buy. We’re shipping stuff all over the world. We’re manufacturing our own FDA-cleared, vital-sign-monitoring wearable, and the size and scale of Best Buy’s logistics and supply chain operation has just made everything so much more efficient, less expensive and faster.
MHN: What’s underway for Current Health that you’re excited about?
Wolfberg: We’ve developed relationships with very large health systems [i.e. Mount Sinai, Geisinger, UMass Memorial and Baptist Health], and ones where we are codeveloping these programs that are multiple programs on a single tech stack and a single tech platform, where we are enabling the hospital-at-home program, the rapid discharge program and the post-op discharge program.
So, the patient who just had a laparoscopic gastric banding procedure goes home the same day as opposed to spending a night in the hospital. And the congestive heart failure program and the hypertension program that has 500 patients who are using their own blood pressure cuffs instead of our technology – all of it coming in through a single tech platform and all of it integrated into the electronic health record. And what we’re replacing in those institutions are like five or six different point solutions with one platform where everyone’s getting the same information. I mean, that’s how you sort of develop continuity in healthcare, you avoid duplication of services, you enhance communication. That’s what I get excited about.
MHN: What’s in store for the company in 2023?
Wolfberg: Our focus in 2023 is going to be to fully realize that vision of a single platform, multiple services, working with the largest health systems in the country. We’ve got deals with four of the top 10 health systems in the country. I really want to build out that vision and do more than just implement it at these health systems. I want to implement it and scale it.
Also, some of the really creative work that our clients have done in the hospital-at-home program needs to be codified in legislation and made permanent, because right now it’s part of a pandemic waiver program. So, I’d like to see that come to fruition. It’s a great way to build a hospital bed without building some walls and filling it with very expensive equipment. So I think there’s a lot of opportunity there.