General Electric's Healthcare division and Ascom Wireless Solutions announced an agreement to implement a hospital system that would send alerts from patient-monitoring devices directly to a caregiver via paging or text messaging. Wireless solutions within hospitals enable greater mobility on the part of doctors and nurses, in theory leading to boosted efficiency. GE's investments in health care IT include a 2009 partnership with Intel that focuses on development programs for fall prevention, medication compliance, sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and personal wellness monitoring.
General Electric's Healthcare division will integrate its
patient-monitoring platform into wireless VOIP
(voice over IP) phones, pager and DECT handsets designed by Ascom
Wireless Solutions, under an agreement announced April 27. The technology
merger will enable a hospital-centric wireless messaging system capable of
sending alerts and providing patient information to caregivers on the move.
A joint press release from GE Healthcare and Ascom, quoting
"a recent Spyglass Consulting Group report," indicated that 66 percent of
"hospital-based nurses said their organizations had deployed VoIP-based
communications to enable greater mobility, so they can perform their jobs more
efficiently at the point of care."
Once put into effect, the agreement will see a patient's
alerts coalesced from varying sources and delivered wirelessly to a caregiver's
device via either paging or text message. The system will involve linking those
devices to patient-monitoring technology.
"Increasingly, hospitals are leveraging wireless
technologies to deliver clinical data directly to mobile devices, leading to
valuable productivity gains," David Ataide, vice president and general manager
of monitoring solutions and diagnostic cardiology for GE Healthcare, wrote in
an April 27 statement. "By collaborating with Ascom, a global leader in on-site
wireless communication systems, GE Healthcare is working to advance hospital
alarm management and build on our vision to provide excellent access to quality
patient information from most communication devices."
General Electric has spent considerable time and effort on
its health care push. In April 2009, the
company announced a joint partnership with Intel that would see $250 million
invested over the next five years in health care IT technologies
particularly those aimed at chronic disease management and assisting
independent living for seniors.
Under the terms of that agreement, GE Healthcare would
market the Intel Health Guide, a compact white box that displays users' recent
health history, along with reminders to take medications or visit the doctor.
Intel and GE also announced at the time that they would expand their
development programs to include fall prevention, medication compliance, sleep
apnea, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and personal wellness monitoring.
"The only way we're going to drive lower costs [for the
health care industry]," Jeff Immelt, chairman of the board and CEO of GE, said in
an April 2 press conference announcing that agreement, "is through technology."
GE has also focused on imbuing new capabilities into its
Quiet Care system, a passive monitoring system installed in seniors' homes that
allows caregivers to detect emerging health issues or emergency situations.