Target to pilot connected health sections in 550 stores

Dive Brief:

  • Target is piloting a connected care program that will bring a range of wireless-enabled medical grade devices to select Target pharmacy departments, Twice reports.
  • The connected care sections, expected to roll out across 550 Target pharmacy departments this May, span roughly six feet wide and contain about 14 different connected products like blood pressure monitors and pain management tools.
  • Each product included in the Target pilot is capable of securely transmitting personal health updates to smartphones and other connected devices, making it easy for customers “to keep track of important wellness information and data,” a Target spokeswoman told Twice in an e-mail.

Dive Insight:

Connected care technologies promise to revolutionize the American healthcare system. Experts say that remote patient communication and monitoring tools not only improve caregiver access to real-time patient metrics and vitals, but also help both patients and providers reduce costly, time-consuming visits to hospitals and urgent care facilities. Connected care devices can also collect anonymous patient data across a region, helping public health organizations track health trends and respond more proactively.

Connected care fits perfectly into Target’s ongoing efforts to ramp up its personal wellness efforts. Despite selling its pharmacy and health clinic business to CVS Health in 2015, Target has in recent months introduced a series of wellness-themed initiatives to differentiate its merchandise and drive shopper traffic.

Last year Target expanded its Sustainable Product Index, which incentivizes suppliers to offer products free of certain chemicals. Earlier this year the retailer refined its “Made to Matter” list of sustainable merchandise, employing a stricter set of requirements to guarantee that all products within the line are healthier for both people and the environment.

Target has also teamed with indoor cycling chain SoulCycle on an apparel line and pop-up “SoulCycle experience” tour that includes free classes in 10 cities nationwide. Just this week, the company partnered with “dance cardio” fitness guru Tracy Anderson to sell Anderson’s protein shake mixes and protein bars.

The connected care pilot complements Target CEO Brian Cornell’s pledge to “learn and innovate beyond our core businesses.” The retailer is spearheading a food-technology accelerator program in partnership with MIT and is also developing a mysterious tech startup known only as Goldfish.

“We’re constantly looking for opportunities to evolve our assortment and shopping experience to meet the changing needs of our guests,” a Target spokeswoman told Twice. “We know our guests are increasingly interested in these types of [connected care] products, and will evaluate future growth plans based on their feedback and sales results.”

Target has so far divulged few specifics about the connected care program but said the product assortment will include digital health startup Qardio’s QardioArm blood pressure monitor and QardioBase wireless smart scale.

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Filed Under: Technology