Best Buy is teaming up with Cardiac Science, targeting potential purchasers of electronic health records (EHRs) and noninvasive cardiac devices. The venture looks to take advantage of economic stimulus funding available through the HITECH Act aimed at motivating physicians to adopt EHRs.

Cardiac Science is a medical device company focused on the noninvasive management of heart disease. Their products include defibrillators, ECG/EKG devices, stress testing equipment, Holter and vital sign monitors. These heart-hardware products are designed to connect with electronic health records systems in hospitals and physician offices. and are used in many settings outside of health institutions including schools, emergency medical response centers, fire and law enforcement, airports, and the hospital industry.

The company’s own sales, installation, training and support staff will be complemented by Best Buy For Business’s own sales team that can help doctors in setting up information networks and computing platforms. The Geek Squad, the division of Best Buy that provides consumers and small business with support for computers, networking, home entertainment and appliances, will staff up to help doctors install and support the technology.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: The Cardiac Science/Geek Squad alliance falls under the market umbrella of the Sam’s Club deal with Dell and eClinicalWorks, targeting small physician practices who are looking to buy electronic health records systems in response to the ARRA HITECH stimulus funding opportunity.

Best Buy has been flirting with health care since 2005, when it introduced the Eq-Life store concept of medical devices at retail in a few test markets. While the store concept didn’t pan out in its pilot phase, the retailer continues to experiment with various roles in the health vertical. Brian Dolan of mobihealthnews has written about Best Buy’s alliance with Microsoft HealthVault and Meridien Health NJ’s work with the store in the health system’s local market.

Health @ retail continues to morph as both consumers and clinicians alike access products and services out-of-pocket. In this venture, Best Buy, a trusted brand for consumer-facing technologies, along with its service arm of white-shirt-and-black-tie-wearing Geeks, positions itself to exploit the $20+ billion worth of HITECH stimulus funds. The retailer and Cardiac Science will be competing with a growing roster of hardware, software and service companies — including Walmart’s Sam’s Club. With this deal, the duo may be able to carve out a specialty niche among cardiologists and rehab centers looking for clinically-focused networking.

As one impact of health reform (PPACA) will be to move care from expensive (inpatient) settings into less expensive modes, the doctor’s office will become a greater focus as both medical home and treatment locus. Integrating data collected via clinical technologies, such as heart monitoring devices, directly into EHRs, will bolster greater productivity, efficiency and effectiveness in ambulatory settings. Watch this deal to see if it’s effective in addressing this core market.