Intel and General Electric are planning to spend $250 million over the next five years in a joint health care IT partnership, a key component of which will be the marketing and sale of the Intel Health Guide. Intel CEO Paul Otellini and GE CEO Jeff Immelt said they plan to focus on research and development in a number of areas ranging from fall prevention to medication compliance.
NEW YORK - Intel
Electric will invest $250 million over the next five years in a joint
partnership to develop health care IT technologies. The resulting products will
be aimed at chronic disease management and assisting independent living for
GE's Healthcare division
will sell and market the Intel
Health Guide, a compact white box with a screen that allows users to check
their recent health history, receive reminders to take medications and
communicate via an integrated camera with their physician or other health care
According to both
companies, the market for telehealth and home health monitoring will likely
more than double from $3 billion in 2009 to $7.7 billion by 2012. The number of
Americans aged 65 and older will increase to 71.5 million people, or roughly 20
percent of the total population.
The Intel Digital Health
Group has also been focused on creating digital networks that will allow health
care providers to manage and build solutions for network-centric health issues,
such as nurse workflow and disease paths.
Under the agreement, Intel
and GE plan to pool their research and development efforts in the health care IT
arena, and expand their development programs to include fall prevention,
medication compliance, sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and
personal wellness monitoring.
"Most of the discourse [in
health care] today is around integrating medical technology," Paul Otellini,
president and CEO of Intel, said in a presentation. However, he
warned that "this is not a business that's going to have instant returns," and
will instead require years of investment.
Both Otelli and Jeff
Immelt, chairman of the board and CEO of GE, see the development of health care IT as
playing a major part in the lowering of overall health care costs, which
threaten to put an increasing burden on the U.S. economy in coming years.
"The only way we're going
to drive lower costs [for the healthcare industry]," Immelt added during the
presentation, "is through technology."
However, Immelt doesn't
want the agreement to be seen as a chance for both companies to profit from the
Obama administration's increased spending on health care IT.
"I don't view this as
capitalizing on the stimulus package," he said.
One area of intended
research is creating new capabilities for GE's Quiet Care system, a passive
monitoring system installed in seniors' homes that allows health care workers to
detect emerging health issues or emergency situations.
Other major IT companies
have recently been making moves into the health care IT sphere, including
Google, which on March 31 announced a pilot program with the Centers for Medicare
and Medicaid Services (CMS) to let Medicare
beneficiaries import Medicare claims data into their Google Health solution.
On March 23, Oracle
announced that it had acquired Relsys International, a company that
provides drug safety and risk-management solutions, in order to position itself
further as a health care software applications provider. The acquisition will
allow Oracle to make inroads into the growing IT fields of clinical
development, post-market surveillance and patient care ops.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.