Using Technology-Enabled Human Interactions to Transform the Home into a Site of Care

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Sara Aghvami, Director of Best Buy Health at Best Buy Canada, joined me for an exploration into the concept of “helpful homes” and the role of digital health in enabling “aging in place.” We also discussed how the industry and academia can work in partnership towards meaningful results and how to empower seniors through digital literacy, among many other things.

Here is a sneak peek of our conversation:

Q: I’m just curious since Best Buy is kind of a ubiquitous name with many tools that can apply to multiple generations. In this healthcare predicament, although we knew that there was a lot of vulnerability at the aged homes, why did Best Buy decide to particularly target and niche senior living homes?

A: It was almost like the reverse, how they reached out to us as opposed to us reaching out to them. When restrictions came into play, there was so much we couldn’t do in person anymore. That secret sauce I was mentioning was kind of missing which was the in-person geek squad touch where we could have done a lot more.

We quickly had to pivot to digital and the only way to implement a digital service is a more organized structure. Where that is happening is in a building where there are others in the building, who can navigate some of that service. It’s pretty hard to reach out to 5000 seniors in communities to say, “Click here” as opposed to working with a life enhancement coordinator in the buildings like “Mary, just click here for all your residents.” Then, they can start seeing some of the services that we can provide.

We had no option but to work with healthcare entities or organizations in order to launch those programs digitally because more than anyone, the seniors are not set up for success in that space. The biggest gap we have identified when we started learning about health was the lack of digital literacy for that generation. We were so good at selling technology to tech enthusiasts. Then, if you look at the trend of people who would just willingly walk into our store and ask questions, it starts tapering off at the age of 55 and onwards when real life happens, life hits you with real problems and you think less and less about fun. I’m not generalizing everybody but that’s really what happens. Now I have a mom who had experienced a stroke, I got real problems. I’m not thinking about upgrading my TV but I need to learn new trades to take care of her.

For us to learn where people stop coming to us for digital technology solutions and then learn about the fears and asking all the 5 Whys. The biggest one was “I don’t know what I’m doing. I have no idea how to even get started. This is another task you’re putting on my shoulders.” Providing digital literacy to residents was the only place to start. It’s like “Let me just teach you the ABCs.” This is why we had some success in the virtual space in senior living because of coordination with this organization within the buildings that could have rolled some of those services out and we got lucky.

For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with Sara Aghvami, or listen to the podcast version, below.

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About Impetus Digital

Impetus Digital is the spark behind sustained healthcare stakeholder communication, collaboration, education, and insight synthesis. Our best-in-class technology and professional services ensure that life science organizations around the world can easily and cost-effectively grow and prosper—from brand or idea discovery to development, commercialization, execution, and beyond—in collaboration with colleagues, customers, healthcare providers, payers, and patients.

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