Best Buy and Walgreens are the latest nationally known retailers to continue the expansion of primary care and home care offerings.
On March 7, Best Buy Health and Atrium Health announced that they are “joining forces” to provide hospital-home services that deliver high-quality care while reducing the emotional and financial burden on patients and caregivers. The companies said Atrium Health’s telemedicine capabilities and a patient population of nearly 3 million people will join Best Buy’s technical expertise, logistics and locations in North America. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Best Buy is the world’s largest specialty consumer electronics retailer, with more than 90,000 employees in nearly 1,000 stores in North America.
“We knew Atrium Health was the right partner to address the unique challenges of home healthcare,” said Best Buy Health President Deborah Di Sanzo in a press release. The company brings expertise in “omnichannel, supply chain, Caring Center support and services, at-home support,” and connections with patients and caregivers through Best Buy Health’s Current Health care at home platform, Di Sanzo said.
“Those strengths, combined with Atrium Health’s extensive clinical expertise and deep experience in virtual care, will help us improve and enable home care for everyone,” said Di Sanzo.
Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Atrium Health has 70,000 employees in 40 hospitals and more than 1,400 care locations. It is part of Advocate Health, the fifth-largest non-profit health system in the United States, according to company information.
The collaboration will change the lives of patients and consumers with tools and experience to receive care at home, said Dr. Rasu Shrestha, MD, MBA, chief innovation and commercialization officer at Advocate Health, in the press release.
“Our surveys show high levels of patient satisfaction for our hospital-home experience, and the use of virtual care is a valuable tool in our efforts to eradicate both economic and geographic inequalities in access to healthcare,” Shrestha said. “Together with Best Buy Health, we will join forces to deliver better outcomes and equal access to patients who receive care at home. This will also ensure a more successful and seamless process for the healthcare providers who care for them.”
Village MD, the majority-owned primary care and health care company of Walgreens Boots Alliance, announced this month that it has acquired Starling Physicians. That primary care and specialty practice offers cardiology, ophthalmology, endocrinology, nephrology and geriatric care at more than 30 locations in Connecticut.
“Starling shares our vision to be a physician-led model, and they provide compassionate and exceptional care to all patients they serve,” said Tim Barry, CEO and President of VillageMD in a press release. “By integrating primary care with specialist care, we can optimize access to quality care for our patients. Together, we are transforming the way healthcare is delivered in the United States.”
The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, although Walgreens has publicly announced that it has invested billions of dollars in primary care clinics in recent years. In 2021, the company announced its intention to open at least 600 “Village Medical at Walgreens” primary care clinics in more than 30 U.S. markets over four years.
“The value-based healthcare delivery model, combined with our broad multi-specialty healthcare platform, will result in improved clinical outcomes for our patients and healthier local communities, while reducing healthcare costs,” said Christopher Russo, chairman of the Starling Finance Committee, MD. . in a press release. “VillageMD has achieved remarkable and repeated success in delivering cost-effective high-quality care in a variety of markets and was the natural partner for Starling to help realize this transformational vision in Connecticut.”
All in the first line
The announcements from Best Buy and Walgreens came just days after two other major companies announced their intention to expand in primary care.
This month, retail giant Walmart announced it will add at least 28 new health centers in Texas, Arizona and Missouri by the end of 2024, bringing at least 75 Walmart Health centers in total to provide primary care.
Walmart’s announcement also came days after online giant Amazon announced in February that it had completed its $3.9 billion acquisition of One Medical, aiming to transform primary care.
Describing their offerings, Amazon and One Medical said they will provide 24/7 access to primary care through the One Medical app, 24/7 video chats and easy in-app messaging, same-day and next-day in-office visits, and availability where people work, live and shop. One Medical said the company will have pediatricians and healthcare providers in a growing number of locations, and “highly engaged clinicians focused on meeting people’s full needs.”