Critical Signal Technologies' 100,000 subscriber-strong service offers PERS, telehealth, remote vital sign monitoring and more.

Best Buy acquires another remote senior monitoring service

By Dave Muoio
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Best Buy has acquired remote senior monitoring service Critical Signal Technologies (CST) and will use its platform to bolster a push into the Medicare Advantage market, the retail electronics company shared during a May 23 investor call.

Best Buy did not outline the terms of the deal during the call, only specifying that it had closed during Q2, funded with existing cash and not expected to have a material impact on revenue or operating income for the year. MobiHealthNews has reached out to Best Buy and CST for additional comment, and will update this story with any response.

According to its website, CST’s service consists of personal emergency response systems (PERS), wellness coaching and on-call concierge, remote vital sign monitoring, chronic disease management, telehealth, senior housing pull cords and more. The nationwide company was founded in 2006, and boasts more than 100,000 senior subscribers alongside relationships with roughly 1,500 payers, 900 providers and 350 housing properties.

WHY IT MATTERS

CST’s services fall in line with the senior-focused communications and in-home monitoring tools of GreatCall, which Best Buy also purchased last year. In addition, the company already offers in-home tech support capabilities for customers who require help with their electronics, potentially giving Best Buy an easy way to ensure that remote care products are being set up appropriately.

“We are excited about the prospects of combining CST's services and relationships with the existing GreatCall business,” Hubert Joly, Best Buy’s outbound CEO, said during the investor call. “More broadly, this tuck-in acquisition, together with GreatCall, complements our existing capabilities like Geek Squad and In-Home Advisors to better serve both the seniors in their home and those who support them like payers and providers.”

Of note, CST already has substantial existing business within the Medicare Advantage market, a beefy source of revenue that Joly made it clear that his company is targeting with the acquisition.

“Coverage under Medicare Advantage plans is helpful to growing our commercial business because it allows us to engage with insurers and build our service into their plans as a way to both improve their member experience and help them save on costs,” he said. “The acquisition of CST will thereby help facilitate our access to and penetration of the commercial market."

WHAT’S THE TREND

Best Buy’s burgeoning home health business isn’t limited to the services of its subsidiaries. Aside from consumer phones, wearables and other devices, the company announced in April that it would begin selling Tyto Care’s remote care platform through its online storefront and certain stores.

Meanwhile, the broader senior health monitoring industry is moving ahead at a steady pace. Philips recently unveiled a mobile platform for caretaker coordination, Comcast is rumored to be piloting an in-home health monitor of its own, and all the while more and more PERS products are moving away from pendant devices.