Best Buy extends reach into booming health care market with GreatCall

phys.org | 8/31/2016 | Staff
DanRules394 (Posted by) Level 3
The man at the other end of the phone line was confused. But Daina Blackmon, with the same certification as a 911 dispatcher, calmly probed for signs of trouble.

On her screen she could see basic details—name, age, location, and whether he had had a recent history of falling or other medical emergencies. It quickly became apparent that he had accidentally pushed the alarm on a special flip phone.

Safety - Call - Operator - GreatCall - Best

That triggered a safety call by an operator at GreatCall, a newly owned Best Buy company that sells mobile devices and support services to help older adults live independently.

Most calls Blackmon and her GreatCall colleagues receive aren't medical emergencies. But if they are, the specially trained team can dispatch paramedics, family or neighbors to the customer's home, staying on the line as long as necessary. More often than not, they spare everyone a costly and unnecessary trip to the emergency room.

Nation - Ages - Technology - Promise - Adults

As the nation ages, technology holds promise to help older adults stay in their homes longer and relieve some stress on family members concerned with their safety. The demographics also present enormous business opportunities, which is why Richfield-based Best Buy Co. Inc. spent $800 million in cash in October to purchase California-based GreatCall.

The acquisition, the largest in Best Buy's history, launched the nation's No. 1 consumer electronics retailer deeper into the health care marketplace, where it has been dabbling with its own products and services in recent years.

Swoop - Best - Buy - Access - GreatCall

In one fell swoop, Best Buy gained access to about 1 million GreatCall customers, along with an experienced call center operation and a diverse portfolio of devices tailored to older adults—including simple flip phones with large buttons and extra bright screens, wearable alert devices and a line of sensors for high-risk seniors that monitor daily activities at home.

Equally valuable, the partnership will open new doors to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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