Best Buy’s Geek Squad Helps Patients Set Up At-Home Medical Devices

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With at-home monitoring technology becoming more tech-driven, Best Buy’s Geek Squad, known for its expertise in installing, troubleshooting and educating consumers about their products, has found a new superpower: helping patients set up at-home health care devices. In a pilot program launched last year in partnership with Pennsylvania-based Geisinger Health System, Geek Squad workers helped 300 patients install and set up medical devices such as blood pressure cuffs and pulse oximeters that connect to smartphones and send data back to doctors’ offices. Previously, Geisinger’s caregivers had to show patients how to use these devices during appointments. The Geek Squad program cut the time in half and resulted in greater patient satisfaction, according to a new report from Best Buy and Geisinger.

The company is now expanding the program to include home-based services for more chronic diseases and a variety of connected home devices. The retail giant also is collaborating with Geisinger and other health systems to develop an integrated technology and logistics solution for remote patient monitoring programs.

Providing tech support for health at home is a growing need, particularly as patients with long-term conditions like diabetes and heart disease are managing their condition at home. As the cost of technology for at-home monitoring goes down, more patients will be able to afford their own technology, but the increased complexity of some health care devices can make it challenging to get them working properly.

Many of those health devices are specialized and require the expertise of someone who knows how to use them. That’s where the Geek Squad can help, says Michael Baker, a former director at Best Buy’s Geek Squad and now the president of the company’s home services business. Geek Squad agents in the healthcare service are specially trained on topics such as patient empathy and how to handle personal health data.

In the future, he says, Geek Squad may even offer some of its services to other companies — including health insurance providers and life sciences companies — as they seek to reduce their costs for at-home care. That would allow them to pass along some of those savings to consumers, who could ultimately end up paying less for their own insurance premiums. In the meantime, listen to an episode of “Confessions of Health Geeks” from the Microsoft Health and Life Sciences industry team. The podcast covers the latest trends and insights for health plans, providers, med-tech companies and more. It’s a fast-paced, informative and funny listen.