Feeds

Intel, GE partner on healthcare gadgetry

The internet will see you now

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Chipmaker Intel and manufacturing giant General Electric are pooling their efforts to computerize home-based healthcare.

GE has two divisions - GE Healthcare and GE Healthcare Financing - dedicated to the healthcare sector. Together they account for $18bn (£12.2bn) in sales, according to Jeff Immelt, GE's chairman and chief executive officer.

GE Healthcare provides a wide range of sophisticated (and usually computerized) medical equipment ranging from lab-testing equipment to diagnostic tools such as X-ray and CT scanners. GE Healthcare Financing supplies the financing that keeps that equipment moving into labs, doctors' offices, clinics, and hospitals.

As a home-appliance maker and a player in the healthcare field, GE's desire to be in the home healthcare-appliance business makes perfect sense. One device it now sells is called Quiet Care, a patient-monitoring system that is typically used in US assisted-living facilities to detect changes in residents that might indicate a medical emergency is underway.

According to Intel president and CEO Paul Otellini, who made the Thursday announcement with Immelt in New York, Intel started doing research and development on devices for the healthcare sector some nine years ago.

One result of that research has been an Intel-marketed device called Health Guide, a baby computer that lets doctors and nurses monitor patients remotely from their offices, thereby allowing people with chronic conditions to stay home and still get nearly instant medical attention if they need it. (You can read all about the Health Guide here (PDF).

Citing statistics from Datamonitor, Intel and GE say that the market for telemedicine and home health-monitoring is $3bn (£2bn) today in North America and Europe combined, but is expected to grow to $7.7bn (£5.2bn) by 2012.

But the two companies are chasing much bigger opportunities than that, seeing as how telemedicine is still largely just nurses phoning patients to check up on them. Just as automatic teller machines both cut down on the need for bank workers and make money more accessible, automated medical devices are aimed at similarly helping transform the way medicine is practiced.

Health IT doesn't just mean automating back-end systems that keep medical records or process insurance claims, but also providing front-end devices that interface with patients and help doctors and nurses care for more remote patients - and do a better job at it, as well.

Immelt said that more than 80 per cent of the money spent on healthcare in established economies is related to chronic diseases that affect about 50 per cent of the population. He suggests that the way we administer healthcare has to change, much as the way business processes have had to change as companies have used IT to force efficiency and productivity gains over the past 50 years.

Healthcare can't escape the Internet, it seems.

"Much of healthcare has to take care outside of the hospital and into the home," Immelt declared.

Louis Burns, general manager of Intel's Digital Health Group, provided some stats to explain why. There are currently around 600 million people globally in the developed economies who are over the age of 60. By 2025 that will rise to 1.2 billion and by 2050 it will increase to 2 billion.

With medicine extending lifespans, those billions will need a lot of monitoring.

"We need to enable our elders to age in place, with the right technology, and with dignity," Burns said - meaning in their own homes. Not just because this will be more convenient and preferable, but also because automation and communication will allow better and cheaper care to be given.

To that end, GE and Intel are putting up $250m (£170m) of their own cash over the next five years to do R&D collaboratively on home healthcare devices. Also, GE will sell Intel's Health Guide appliance through its US distribution channel.

Intel has early deployments of the Health Guide in Scotland right now, and is readying a rollout in both the United Kingdom and in the Netherlands. GE is also leading a consortium in Hungary that has ponied up $5m (£3.4m) for a three-year research effort to see how Quiet Care and other technologies can be deployed to make medical care in assisted living centers better and safer. Intel has a similar research project underway in Ireland, and a research facility in Oregon, as well.

Maybe the United States will wake up to universal healthcare if it has an internet front-end? Maybe that will make it affordable?

We can only hope. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
DVLA website GOES TITSUP on day paper car tax discs retire
Welcome to GOV.UK - digital by de ... FAULT
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.