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That’s Dr. Geek Squad to you

Picture 46 Best Buy is teaming up with Cardiac Science, targeting potential purchasers of electronic health records (EHRs) and noninvasive cardiac devices. The venture
looks to take advantage of economic stimulus funding available through
the HITECH Act aimed at motivating physicians to adopt EHRs.

Cardiac Science is a medical device company focused on the
noninvasive management of heart disease. Their products include
defibrillators, ECG/EKG devices, stress testing equipment, Holter and
vital sign monitors. These heart-hardware products are designed to
connect with electronic health records systems in hospitals and
physician offices. and are used in many settings outside of health
institutions including schools, emergency medical response centers, fire
and law enforcement, airports, and the hospital industry.

The company’s own sales, installation, training and support staff
will be complemented by Best Buy For Business’s own sales team that can
help doctors in setting up information networks and computing platforms.
The Geek Squad,
the division of Best Buy that provides consumers and small business
with support for computers, networking, home entertainment and
appliances, will staff up to help doctors install and support the
technology.

Jane's Hot Points: The Cardiac Science/Geek Squad alliance falls under the market umbrella of the Sam’s Club deal with Dell and eClinicalWorks,
targeting small physician practices who are looking to buy electronic
health records systems in response to the ARRA HITECH stimulus funding
opportunity.

Best Buy has been flirting with health care since 2005, when it
introduced the Eq-Life store concept of medical devices at retail in a
few test markets. While the store concept didn’t pan out in its pilot
phase, the retailer continues to experiment with various roles in the
health vertical. Brian Dolan of mobihealthnews has written about Best Buy’s alliance with Microsoft HealthVault and Meridien Health NJ’s work with the store in the health system’s local market.

Health @ retail continues to morph as both consumers and clinicians
alike access products and services out-of-pocket. In this venture, Best
Buy, a trusted brand for consumer-facing technologies, along with its
service arm of white-shirt-and-black-tie-wearing Geeks, positions itself
to exploit the $20+ billion worth of HITECH stimulus funds. The
retailer and Cardiac Science will be competing with a growing roster of
hardware, software and service companies — including Walmart’s Sam’s
Club. With this deal, the duo may be able to carve out a specialty niche
among cardiologists and rehab centers looking for clinically-focused
networking.

As one impact of health reform (PPACA) will be to move care from
expensive (inpatient) settings into less expensive modes, the doctor’s
office will become a greater focus as both medical home and treatment
locus. Integrating data collected via clinical technologies, such as
heart monitoring devices, directly into EHRs, will bolster greater
productivity, efficiency and effectiveness in ambulatory settings. Watch
this deal to see if it’s effective in addressing this core market.

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn is a health economist and management consultant that serves clients at the intersection of health and technology. Her clients include all stakeholders in health, including providers, payors and plans; companies in biopharma, medical devices, financial services, technology and consumer goods; non-profits and NGOs. Jane's lens on health is best-defined by the World Health Organization: health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Her blog may be found at HEALTHPopuli

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