Israeli startup TytoCare – the maker of FDA-cleared medical devices meant to aid in self-examination and diagnosis for telehealth providers – has inked a retail partnership with Best Buy to expand access to its technology.
As part of the startup’s first major retail launch, TytoCare’s TytoHome product will be offered online through BestBuy.com and brick-and-mortar stores in Minnesota. Availability is also coming soon to locations in California, North Dakota and South Dakota.
In contrast to the majority of telehealth companies, TytoCare doesn’t employ its own clinicians, instead positioning themselves as pure technology player enabling better telehealth experiences and driving higher utilization of the service. The company’s device comes with various attachments like a stethoscope, otoscope and tongue depressor that enable patients to perform self-exams.
Telehealth has been put forward as a major way to control healthcare cost and create more convenient care delivery, but the technology continues to suffer from low utilization. TytoCare’s business thesis is built around using its platform as a way to build trust and drive up usage of telemedicine services.
So far, the company says it has signed more than 50 health organizations as partners ranging from Israeli managed care organization Clalit Health Services and Louisiana’s Ochsner Health System.
Telehealth services in Minnesota and the Dakotas will be provided by Sioux Falls-based Sanford Health – one of the company’s investors as well as one of the largest rural health systems in the country.
TytoHome users in California and Ohio will be linked to providers from LiveHealth Online, a subsidiary of telehealth provider American Well that is operated by Anthem Blue Cross.
Dedi Gilad, CEO of TytoCare, said the company will continue to roll out partnerships with local health providers across the country bolstered by its nationwide partnership will be with American Well.
“The product itself is a hybrid solution, it’s a consumer solution, but also a medical device that connects to a healthcare service,” Gilad said. “Best Buy is also working with us on some of our partnerships with the health system and employers and helping to enable that entire ecosystem.”
The company’s device retails for $300 and at-home visits cost $59, which can be reduced depending on a patient’s insurance coverage. Gilad added that he expects healthcare organizations to also help defray the upfront cost of the device through coupons and subsidies.
TytoCare was initially founded in 2012 and launched in the U.S. five years later. All told, the company has raised more than $53 million from investors including Sanford Health, Chinese insurer Ping An and global pharmacy chain Walgreens.
The Best Buy partnership represents a further entry into the at-home connected health device industry for the electronics retailer after the company’s $800 million acquisition of GreatCall in 2018.
The company has appointed Asheesh Saksena as the president of its new Best Buy Health division as part of the company’s stated intention to provide health and wellness devices to customers, particularly elderly patients.
Gilad said TytoCare devices were also offered to Best Buy employees as part of an internal pilot. Customer reviews of the product on the Best Buy website seem mainly to stem from this employee trial.
Outside of the strategic alignment with Best Buy, Gilad said collaboration with the Fortune 100 retailer provides expertise in distribution, supply chain management and fulfillment outside of the capabilities of TytoCare’s provider partners. Additionally, through offerings like its Geek Squad, Best Buy can provide additional product support for TytoCare’s devices.
Moving forward, Gilad said the company is focused on additional retail launches (with investor Walgreens as one likely candidate) and expanding its presence in Europe, as well as the Canadian and Asian markets.
On the product end, Gilad said the company is looking at developing more tools and features built on top of the company’s platform.
“With our examination system we’ve created a very unique dataset that you cannot find really in the industry today,” Gilad said. “We are highly focused on providing more added value like decision support and alerts around the data we have.”