Best Buy is set to enter the healthcare space
The healthcare industry is being repeatedly disrupted by non-traditional players, transforming the way the sector has traditionally tackled ongoing challenges to deliver exceptional patient care.
Moving towards an increasingly consumer-centric model, retailers such as Walmart are beginning to look at the potential of delivering customer-led health products and services, in order to compete against technology giants such as Amazon and Apple.
It has now been revealed that Best Buy is now exploring this space and is set to develop technological solutions to support a growing, ageing population, CNBC has reported.
In a recent earnings call, the company has stated its plans to look at developing digital tools and solutions to target this significant market segment, and enable consumers to remain in their home and improve quality of life, all whilst driving down escalating healthcare costs.
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“One thing we’ve talked about is how technology can help people stay in their home for longer, Best Buy CEO, Hubert Joly explained.
“We already have sold a variety of health-related products and technology products designed for seniors, like specially designed phones and medical alert systems. We are also testing a service, called Assured Living, to help the ageing population stay healthy at home, with assistance from technology product and services. And we will continue to learn as we find our approach in this space.”
"We're not trying to increase the profitability, we are trying to position the company for the future," he added.
"The return for the winners in this space are going to be outsized because there's going to be greater and greater differentiation between winners and losers. And so, this is the time clearly to invest."
Advances in health "must ensure self-sovereign identity"
The UK government has announced that from September onwards COVID-19 vaccine passports will be necessary to gain entry into places with large crowds, such as nightclubs.
This has reignited the debate between those who believe having proof of vaccinations will enable people to gather in public places and travel safely, and those who view the digital certificates as an attack on personal freedom.
The arguments have increased in intensity since the recent announcement to drop COVID-19 restrictions in England, in a move to reopen the economy that has attracted fierce criticism both domestically and overseas.
Cross-party ministers are set to defy the government’s latest plans to introduce vaccine passports over civil liberties concerns. A number of MPs have already signed the Big Brother Watch declaration against “Covid status certification to deny individuals access to general services, businesses or jobs” in recent months.
However Mark Shaw, CEO of Tento Applied Sciences, says the Big Brother Watch campaign is based on false assumptions. “Big Brother Watch puts forward a compelling argument based around civil liberties, but some of the assumptions they make are simply incorrect” he says.
“For example, the BBW campaign claims that all Covid passes are discriminatory, counterproductive and would lead to British citizens having to share personal health information with anyone in authority, from bouncers to bosses. However, there are already privacy-first digital wallets that give individuals the freedom to store and share anonymised medical documents, work credentials and other types of documentation quickly, simply, and securely.
“I wholeheartedly agree that individuals should not be required to share their own personal health information with unknown third parties or with anyone in authority who demands it" Shaw adds. "But I strongly disagree with the suggestion that ‘events and businesses are either safe to open for everyone, or no one’. It creates a false dichotomy that either everyone is safe, or nobody is safe. If employers or event organisers don’t take action to properly manage workplace or venue safety, then they risk curtailing the safety and freedom of movement for the majority."
The subject of personal health data is under scrutiny in the UK at the moment, following controversial plans for the NHS to share patient data with third parties. These have been put on hold following public criticism.
Meanwhile a new report has found that the majority of the British public is willing to embrace digital healthcare tools such as apps and digital therapies prescribed by a trusted healthcare professional.
Shaw adds: “The vital point to make is this: innovations in health technology must ensure self-sovereign identity. This means the data held about an individual is owned by the individual and stored on their device. And, in the case of medical data, that data can be delivered from healthcare professionals to the device in an encrypted format, and the user chooses how they share their information."