Author: Daphne Howland
Source: Retail Dive
The partnerships give both medical device companies an opportunity to reach a broader audience through mass merchant retailers, and tightens the relationship between healthcare and retail.
At a time when the story of Theranos — the unicorn startup that developed finger-prick blood testing that was rolled out to Walgreens stores before the company was criticized for fraudulent practices and shut down — is captivating the nation, home health device makers are turning to retailers to get their own machines into the hands of consumers.
Best Buy today announced the expansion of its reach into healthcare with sales of a new device, TytoHome. It allows users to measure certain information like body temperature readings, upper respiratory recordings and throat scans, among others, and send them to a telehealth clinician or their own physician or nurse.
The handheld device, which also employs a smartphone app, is available for $299.99 on BestBuy.com for all customers and in select Minnesota Best Buy stores, with sales coming soon to stores in North Dakota, South Dakota, California and Ohio, according to a press release Tyto Care emailed to Retail Dive. Best Buy's Geek Squad will eventually be employed to support users, Tyto Care CEO and co-founder Dedi Gilad told Retail Dive in an interview.
Target, meanwhile, began selling at-home test kits this month from startup EverlyWell for medical diagnoses including Lyme disease, fertility, menopause and certain sexually transmitted diseases, according to an EverlyWell press release emailed to Retail Dive. The retailer is offering nine EverlyWell products in over 1,800 stores.
Tyto Care and EverlyWell both seem geared toward simplifying healthcare by providing products that patients can use at home in order to facilitate diagnoses more easily and cheaply. The Theranos story doesn't seem to be casting much of a cloud over those efforts, either.
For Tyto, that's because these devices have grown through the regulatory due diligence that Theranos never did, according to Gilad. "Ours is completely different and a different use case," he said when asked about the Theranos debacle. "Our core promise to the consumer is that we allow you to get the best medical service by a licensed professional. We are a full medical device — highly regulated by the FDA, and cleared by the FDA and other regulators to market in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Tyto is not recommending any treatment. We always give the data to a clinician."
EverlyWell CEO and founder Julia Cheek also said the company isn't trying to upend basic medical testing. "The EverlyWell platform connects consumers to physicians and lab tests that are already-validated and available through 3rd-party certified lab partners but with price and results transparency," she told Retail Dive in an email. "EverlyWell is not creating new or novel medical devices or lab tests."