Best Buy makes another bet on healthcare with Current Health acquisition

Three years ago, Best Buy raised eyebrows when it made its first big bet on healthcare, buying GreatCall for $800 million. Now, the tech retailer is taking its plans another step further with a deal to acquire remote monitoring startup Current Health for an undisclosed amount.

The deal makes sense given that many of Best Buy’s products to date have focused on home health. Current Health, which is based in Boston and Edinburgh, Scotland, makes remote monitoring devices that can track patients’ vitals and alert their physician if they need attention.

Its platform can also pull in information from other connected devices, such as blood pressure cuffs or scales, and pair this information with patient-reported systems.

For example, the startup struck a partnership with Mount Sinai Health System in late 2020 to support cancer patients  by monitoring their vitals at home.

After the company raised a recent funding round to scale up its remote patient monitoring solution, it found a partner in Best Buy. With the company’s reach, and experience with supply chain logistics and support services, Current Health CEO Christopher McCann said it would be easier to provide a high-touch consumer experience at scale. In a blog post, he noted that he would continue on with the company, leading Current Health and supporting the growth of Best Buy Health.

“Speaking personally, I have never been more excited about Current Health and the future we are creating,” he wrote.

For its part, Best Buy sees an opportunity to build a broader care ecosystem by combining Current Health’s platform with its existing health products, Best Buy Health President Deborah Di Sanzo said in a news release. Currently, the company has its Jitterbug phones for seniors and emergency alert systems that it acquired through GreatCall, along with a suite of senior-focused home monitoring services it bought with Critical Signal Technologies.

In an August investor call, Best Buy CEO Corie Barry noted that the company had doubled the number of vendors it offered for its fitness, wellness and health products, specifically focusing on products to help people monitor health conditions by tracking blood glucose levels or monitoring heart data. She also said the company was working with hospitals and clinics to curate health products for their patients.

Currently, she sees Best Buy’s health strategy as divided into three segments: consumer health, active aging, and virtual care.

Barry is “really bullish” on consumer health and aging, where the company has already made some big bets.

“The amount of devices that are proliferating right now to help people manage their own care is absolutely incredible,” she said in an Aug. 24 investor call. 

She described Best Buy’s virtual care business, which includes telehealth and remote patient monitoring, as more nascent. But seeing the increased demand for virtual care during the Covid-19 pandemic, she expects to see the uses for this technology to grow.

“We remain really optimistic about how the future of healthcare can be changed through technology and the role that we can play in that,” she said.

Photo credit: Scott Olson, Getty Images

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