Mighty Blog

Geek Squad provides technology support for patients, families

Editors Note: this post was originally published on January 12, 2010.

When Pat Lang’s daughter, Madigan, stopped breathing, she did what any mother would do. She called 9-1-1, jumped into the ambulance with her daughter and rushed to Children’s Minnesota.

Madigan, 13, was diagnosed 10 years ago with a rare genetic disorder called metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD), in which the nervous system slowly deteriorates, causing the body to lose function.

“Madigan is hospitalized often. Being a single mom, managing work and doing a good job while caring for her can be stressful,” Pat said. “We were back in intensive care with Madigan on a ventilator and she needed my full attention. Unfortunately, I needed to be on a teleconference for work the next day, but my cell phone was dead.”

Fortunately for Pat, the first in-hospital Geek Squad precinct had just opened at Children’s – Minneapolis, offering free tech support for patients and their families. A Geek Squad agent came to Pat’s room to get her cell phone working and to load software onto her laptop for the teleconference.

On-site Geek Squad®

“People say, ‘You helped me keep my job,’ ” said Jesse Kneeland, Geek Squad double agent. “I even had one mom say we were miracle workers. And I thought, ‘Well, that’s a doctor’s job. We’re just here to help you out with your technology.’ ”

Best Buy® has been a strong supporter of Children’s Minnesota. After helping design and outfit the new private patient rooms, Best Buy set up a Geek Squad precinct to offer support. The idea to set up an actual Geek Squad precinct inside the hospital grew out of the recognition that technology is playing an ever-expanding role in the lives of patients and their families. With more than half of the patients at Children’s Minnesota in intensive care, many parents are working from the hospital for extended periods of time.

Making connections

For Geek Squad agents, family-centered care means helping people stay connected. During the day, parents stop in to borrow phone chargers, laptops or printers. Patients want help with social networking sites or video game systems. Agents also help parents email photos or set up CaringBridge® websites to help loved ones stay informed and in touch. They say it’s extremely rewarding to help families like the Langs, so they can focus on what matters most. Pat Lang agrees.

“Thanks to the Geek Squad, I can get my business taken care of,” she said, “so I can focus on my daughter.”