Intel and GE form $250m alliance to develop home healthcare technology

6 April 2009

GE and Intel Corporation have entered into an alliance to market and develop home-based health technologies that will help the elderly live independently and patients with chronic conditions manage their care at home.

GE Healthcare will sell and market the Intel Health Guide, a care management tool, launched last year, that is designed for healthcare professionals who manage patients with chronic conditions (see bjhc&im news: Intel launches first home device for personalised care).

GE Chairman of the Board and CEO Jeff Immelt and Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini announced the alliance together with an investment of more than $250 million over the next five years for the research and product development of home-based health technologies.

Key elements of the announcement include:

  • Global product research and development alliance: GE Healthcare and Intel will work together, combining their complementary skill sets and extensive research resources to accelerate the innovation and commercialization of next-generation home health technologies.
    Both companies also plan to expand their current development programs in home health and independent living technologies to include new areas such as fall prevention, medication compliance, sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and personal wellness monitoring.
    The combination of Intel's leading capabilities in ethnographic research and technology development combined with GE's world-class expertise and global distribution strengths in healthcare IT, electronic medical records, critical care and passive monitoring is a strong strategic fit.
  • Commercial business agreement: GE Healthcare will sell and market the Intel Health Guide, a personal health system, in the United States.
    GE Healthcare's capabilities in disease management, and its distribution reach in the healthcare sector will help drive understanding of the benefits of this innovative technology, which includes patients' self-monitoring of health status and a direct communications channel to healthcare professionals.

Immelt said, "Improving healthcare accessibility and reducing costs are essential to economic recovery and growth. We think this partnership offers the potential to lower costs by keeping people out of hospitals while giving health professionals the data they need to deliver the best possible care. Intel and GE share a vision to use technology to bring effective healthcare into millions of homes and to improve the lives of seniors and people with chronic illness. Together we can deliver innovative products to serve this rapidly growing market."

Otellini commented, "Most of the healthcare discussions today focus on the integration of more technology into traditional healthcare settings. While those investments are necessary and will create a more efficient healthcare system, it is not sufficient to meet the growing needs that are about to impact a system that is already at a saturation point. The GE and Intel partnership will not only help seniors and the chronically ill, but will also take a giant step forward in changing how healthcare is delivered."

GE and Intel are currently active in patient monitoring and home health, with well-recognized brands and strong sector expertise:

  • GE Quiet Care is a remote passive activity and behavioural monitoring system for seniors, alerting caregivers to changes that may signal potential health issues or emergency situations such as a fall or emerging health problem. It is used primarily in assisted living facilities across the United States. GE Healthcare also brings significant capabilities in the development of products for critical care patient monitoring, cardiac diagnostics, home respiratory care, and healthcare IT such as electronic medical records and clinical decisions support.
  • The Intel Health Guide is a comprehensive personal health system combining an in-home patient device with an online interface to allow clinicians to monitor patients in their homes and manage care remotely. It received US FDA clearance for selling in the US last year. The Health Guide includes vital sign collection, patient reminders and communications tools such as videoconferencing and alerts.
    Intel also brings its world-class know-how in the development of user-friendly interfaces for high technology products and tools for online cognitive assessment and social interaction, all of which will be vital to the design of easy to use home-based health products.

Both companies recently announced their involvement in externally funded independent living and home health research programs: GE Healthcare is leading a consortium of private and public sector organizations in a $5 million three-year home health research program funded by the Hungarian government.

Intel and the Irish Development Agency have established a $30 million TRIL Centre (Technology Research for Independent Living), launched in 2007, bringing together world-class industry and academic experts to research independent living technologies. Research at the centre has already produced results. In 2008 the Centre launched the BioMOBIUS Research Platform consisting of hardware, sensors, software, services and a graphical development environment, that enable engineers to rapidly develop solutions for biomedical research.

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