Best Buy is introducing the Dexcom G7 Continuous Glucose Monitoring System, marking the first time its health-products division will sell a prescription device.
It’s the retailer’s latest move into the home-health area, and it says more announcements will follow. The device, along with other CGMs, has been gaining in popularity. Best Buy will deliver the monitor right to a patient's home, facilitated by Wheel, a leading virtual care platform, and HealthDyne, a pharmacy technology provider.
CGMs already have broad appeal among the 10% of the U.S. population with diabetes, enabling them to ditch fingersticks and make better decisions.
Best Buy says customers can get the device as soon as Wheel determines eligibility, with HealthDyne then processing the prescription. It is not accepting insurance payments for the system.
But soon, it plans to allow people with an existing CGM prescription to upload that information into their profile and have the device sent to them.
The launch is an example of the model the retailer has been laying out over the last several years, with Best Buy providing the technology, then partnering with other organizations to provide and monitor the care.
In 2022, Best Buy was one of the first retailers to move into the over-the-counter hearing aids business. In 2021, Best Buy spent $400 million to buy Current Health, a remote health monitoring company. In 2018, it acquired GreatCall for $800 million, rebranding its easy-to-use phones and connected devices as Lively. And the retailer has incorporated health devices into its Geek Squad coverage.
“We have over nine million in-home visits every year, and we think we can take that into health,” Chemu Lang’at, chief operating officer of Best Buy Health, said Monday during an appearance at HLTH, the health technology conference in Las Vegas.
Indeed, the Geek Squad has already been used 40,000 times over the past three years for in-home visits “setting up, supporting and troubleshooting issues” regarding emergency response systems, Lang’at said. And another 90,000 Geek Squad visits for the devices have been conducted virtually.
Best Buy Health has also teamed with Pennsylvania’s Geisinger Health System in a pilot program with over 300 patients for in-home chronic disease management. In 13 months, Lang’at said, there’s been “over a 50% reduction in the time it takes to get a patient activated onto their care-at-home program.”
Another result, she said, was an 18% reduction “in the number of technology issues that have come up during the course of the care regimen. Within 24 hours, these [Geek Squad] agents can go into the home and rectify anything that’s gone awry.”
The program includes patients with such chronic conditions as congestive heart failure, COPD, hypertension, and diabetes using such devices as blood pressure cuffs, body weight scales, thermometers and glucose meters. Patients monitor their health at home, transmitting data back to Geisinger through Best Buy Health.
While Best Buy’s goals of helping people age better at home and stay out of hospitals make sense on many levels, some observers question whether the retailer is in the best position to fulfill them.
“Best Buy Health also strikes us as intriguing, with the retailer competing predominately on the hardware and installation services side of the ledger,” writes Sean Dunlop, an analyst who follows the company for Morningstar. But “intense competition limits the firm's viable addressable market, in our view.”
Retailers like Costco, Walmart and Amazon are also eyeing more significant moves in healthcare, even as players like Walgreens and CVS rapidly evolve healthcare offerings.
Check out this story for more news on continuous glucose monitors.