Best Buy Health and Mass General Brigham team up for at-home care

Steven Loeb · November 8, 2023 · Short URL:

The two companies will first work on scaling and supporting MGB’s Home Hospital service

Best Buy Health has made providing at-home care a key part of its business, first buying Current Health, a platform that combines remote patient monitoring, telehealth, and patient engagement, back in 2021, then partnering with Geisinger, with the two companies deploying specially trained Geek Squad Agents to deliver, install and activate remote care management devices, and then with Atrium Health, a nonprofit health system that is part of Advocate Health, the fifth-largest nonprofit health system in the United States.

On Wednesday, Best Buy announced its latest partnership in the space, this time with Mass General Brigham (MGB), the largest hospital-based research enterprise in the United States, and the largest private employer in Massachusetts. The two organizations will be working together to develop solutions to support the movement of healthcare into the homes by improving how quality and safe care are provided.

Their first project will be scaling and supporting MGB’s Home Hospital, which provides acute care for patients at home who traditionally would need inpatient hospitalization. 

"At Mass General Brigham, we have a vision of delivering home-based services across the entirety of the care continuum, ranging from chronic disease management to home hospitalization to post-acute alternatives," explained Dr. Stephen Dorner, chief clinical and innovation officer at Mass General Brigham Healthcare at Home.

"The shift of care delivery into the home-based space that we and other systems across the country are undertaking here is an exciting prospect for improving how healthcare is delivered – offering a more patient-centric, higher quality, and lower-cost care option. However, it has never been done before at scale, and so many of the solutions to support that novel form of care delivery do not yet exist."

Home Hospital, which began caring for patients in 2017, combines the hospital at home efforts in operation at MGB’s flagship hospitals, Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, since 2017, providing a home-based alternative to a facility-based inpatient hospital stay.

Services provided include intravenous fluids and medications, laboratory testing, oxygen, radiology studies, electrocardiograms, and ultrasounds directly in the home. All of this is supported by a 24/7 continuous remote patient monitoring platform that transmits a patient’s vital sign readings to their clinicians as well as a two-way text and video communication pathway that ensures continual access to a patient’s clinical team.

"More advanced than traditional home health services, Mass General Brigham Home Hospital patients receive comprehensive treatment that involves at least twice-daily in-home or virtual visits under the care of a nurse practitioner, physician assistant or physician, in collaboration with broader care from a team of paramedics, nurses, therapists, and home health aides," Dorner explained.

Mass General Brigham Home Hospital patients are primarily those between the ages of 55 and 85 who present to the emergency department and/or are admitted to a hospital floor for inpatient level care. Common conditions treated under the care of Home Hospital include congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), skin and soft tissue infections such as cellulitis, complex urinary tract infections, and kidney infections.

By partnering with Best Buy Health, MBG will have access to technology that will it allow it to scale the program faster .

"Now that we are caring for over 30 Home Hospital patients daily, with goals for continued growth, Mass General Brigham and Best Buy are looking to identify how our processes and platforms need to be refined and execute at greater scale. Those processes include the arrangement of patient transportation, coordination of pharmacy delivery, tracking of equipment deployed in the home, scheduling of meal services, and more," Dorner said.

"These all account for the patient’s fluctuating clinical needs throughout their care. This collaboration provides a world of opportunity for us to enhance the logistics solutions required for the orchestration of care-at-home while delivering a more sophisticated experience for both our patients and our clinical teams."

MGB provides clinical care through two academic hospitals, three specialty hospitals, seven community hospitals, home care services, a health insurance plan, and a network of specialty practices, urgent care facilities, and outpatient clinics/surgical centers.

In addition to scaling Home Hospital, Mass General Brigham will also leverage Best Buy Health’s existing technology and support services, which include Current Health, the company’s care at home platform, which connects patients to nurses, paramedics, advanced practitioners and physicians; services that enable better coordination of how home-based care is delivered and logistics management to support the patient’s broad care team; and Lively Mobile Plus, their personal emergency response system (PERS) device which can detect falls and enable patients to contact an Urgent Response Agent.

It will also involve the two companies working together to develop new solutions, combining MGB's clinical expertise and Best Buy's technological and logistical sophistication. That may include improving connectivity to patients, solving for logistics management difficulties, integrating and streamlining services, and creating greater vendor management efficiency.

The partnership with Best Buy also includes a financial commitment which will help MGB combat workforce shortages by providing scholarships and employment opportunities for the next generation of its healthcare at home workforce in the areas of nursing, digital and paramedicine.

"Workforce shortages are widespread in healthcare. As patients increasingly seek hybrid alternatives to traditional settings of care, it is imperative we proactively cultivate academic curriculum and workforce pathways focusing on the unique aspects of delivering complex care in the home environment," said Dorner.

"We are tremendously excited to mobilize as quickly as possible to curb clinical shortages within the healthcare at home workforce and, most importantly, define clinical excellence in the home."

The ultimate goal of this partnership is to provide care to more patients while continuing to ensure exceptional quality, lower cost, and high rates of satisfactory will be the hallmark of success, he explained.

"We will only be able to successfully scale Home Hospital services through the development of more efficient systems and processes, and we are confident that Best Buy’s collaboration allows us to make that vision a reality."

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