What Best Buy’s $800 million cash purchase of GreatCall connected health/PERS really means

Have health and connectedness services for older people finally made it out of the pumpkin and to the ball? GreatCall’s market doesn’t make for great cocktail party buzz or TEDMED talks. It’s emergency response with Jeopardy’s Alex Trebek presenting 5 Star emergency service bundled in a Jitterbug flip or smartphone (made by others). It’s made intelligent acquisitions. taking some of the tech developed by Lively to develop wearables that are quite presentable and by Healthsense for the senior living market. It’s been a leader in how to make both traditional direct marketing (DRTV, print) and digital work for an older market. Somehow, it’s managed to accumulate over 900,000 paying customers, which proved to be very attractive to first PE firm GTCR and now Minneapolis-based Best Buy, which with GreatCall has made its Biggest Buy.

GreatCall will remain a separate division with the same CEO (David Inns, with them since their 2006 founding) and remain HQ’d in San Diego. The transaction is expected to close by end of the third quarter of Best Buy’s fiscal 2019, subject to regulatory approvals.

Best Buy in the US has remained the #1 electronics ‘big box’ store that, like most retail, has stumbled about and come back from the brink. Their purchase of GreatCall, a partner for many years, reinforces a strategy they’ve worked on for a while in featuring health and wellness-related products to what CNBC calls ‘an aging population’ as part of ‘solving technology problems and addressing key human needs across a range of areas.’ GreatCall, as noted above, has a superb track record in direct marketing to that group. (In this context, the former Healthsense B2B play is limited–some of the feedback that this Editor’s received is that GreatCall stumbled out of the gate with Healthsense customers with a lack of understanding of the LTC/senior housing market dynamics. Long term, it seems out of phase with Best Buy’s direction in a way that consumer-oriented Lively is not.)

Will that talent spill over to and influence the rest of Best Buy’s business? Will Best Buy successfully carve out a niche which is relatively resistant to the predations of Amazon (which also sells a lot of health tech) and other online retailers? Is this niche big enough to support this Big Box Retailer? Seeking Alpha, press release, Mobihealthnews

IoT’s biggest problem? Communication of Things.

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/gimlet-eye.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]The Gimlet Eye joins us for a ‘blink’ from an undisclosed, low-tech dot on the map. The fave rave of 2015 is IoT, the annoying shorthand for Internet of Things. Well, can Aunt Madge go into a store and buy an Internet Thingy? But it seems fundamental that The Things Speak with each other, if only to compare football scores and conspire against their owner to drive him or her Stark Raving Mad by producing too many ice cubes in the fridge, turning lights on/off at the wrong times or sending out for a deli order of 20 pounds of Black Forest sliced ham. Our fear about The Things was in considering that they could be hacked in doing Things Against Their Will and Not In The Owner’s Manual. But never mind, it’s not this we should be concerned about, or whether Uncle Aloysius will go off-roading in his Google Galaxie after it’s hacked for fun by an eight-year-old Black Hat. It’s that practically all of these same or different brand TVs, parking meters, cars and health/activity monitoring devices to make life simple for Auntie and Oncle are built on different platforms without a communication protocol. The Eye is now relieved of the fear that IoT devices will be crawling out of the water onto her faraway from dull care beach anytime soon. But you may not be. The Biggest Problem with the Internet of Things? Hint: It’s Not Security (Tech.co) Hat tip to follower @ersiemens via Twitter

Soapbox: The burning technological platform for person-centred care

Rising demands of an aging population are putting increasing pressure on care providers across health and social care. But the technology and thinking that can help alleviate some of those pressures is analogue in a digital world, argues Tom Morton of Communicare247.

Analogue thinking in a digital world
Integrated, person-centred care is seen as a driving force for building public services around individual needs. It aims to bring care out of the hospital and into the community and home to cope with the growing burden of the 3 million people who will have over three long-term conditions by 2018. It will also help acute hospitals to address the ever increasing costs associated with our aging population.

Meanwhile life in our homes and communities is becoming fragmented. One in four (2.9 million) people aged 65 and over feel they have no one to go to for help and support, according to a 2015 report from Age UK and The Campaign to End Loneliness(1). With research indicating that social isolation leads to higher mortality, what point is there keeping people out of hospital, if only they are left home alone, and without the necessary support?

Person-centred care will have minimal success if we do not recognise this fact; people need someone to look out for them. And current approaches are not building the foundations that society needs to help grasp the nettle of providing round-the-clock personal care. (more…)

Apple Watch may not be as ‘healthy’ as touted

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/apple-watch-beauty-shot.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]According to multiple press sources in the past 24 hours, the anxiously-awaited Apple Watch is rumored to be having big trouble with its more advanced healthcare measuring features. We noted at the time “Haptic engine and heart rate monitor; 4 lenses. infrared, LED, photo sensors detect pulse.” plus daily activity [TTA 9 Sep, 11 Sep 14]. Well, not quite. The Wall Street Journal broke the news that it will not debut in April including monitoring of “blood pressure, heart activity and stress levels” as originally planned because, simply, the watch did not measure them reliably and accurately (hairy, sweaty arms!), they were too complex or required regulatory approval (not so–see FDA and MDDS).

Apple has relied on the Watch to defend its Still Most Innovative Company Post-Jobs turf, (more…)