Dell IdeaStorm Offers Crowdsourcing for Medical Records, Biotech

Dell launches IdeaStorm for Health and Life Sciences, an online community for collective IT-related brainstorming for health care improvement. IdeaStorm comes on the heels of a planned Intel-General Electric collaboration on health care tech and-not coincidentally-billions of dollars of government funding for electronic health care improvements.

Dell launched on April 6 IdeaStorm for Healthcare and Life Sciences, an online community for collecting ideas on how to improve health care with IT solutions.

Users register and post ideas, which other users can vote to "Promote," earning the idea 10 points, or "Demote," which subtracts 10, thereby democratically allowing the agreed-upon best ideas to rise to the top.

IdeaStorm is a takeoff on brainstorming and crowdsourcing.

"The goal is for you, the customer, to tell Dell what new products or services you'd like to see Dell develop," according to Dell's Website.

Six categories have been suggested for ideas: Electronic Medical Records, Clinical Research, Hospital Infrastructure, Healthcare Policy, Single Sign-On and Pharma/Biotech.

Dell's health-centric IdeaStorm site comes at a time when government funding is poised to encourage IT health care growth.

Electronic medical records are a priority of the Obama administration, which plans to help lower health care costs by investing "$10 billion a year over the next five years to move the U.S. health care system to broad adoption of standards-based electronic health information systems," according on the White House Website.

National Public Radio recently reported that most of the $19 billion President Obama has set aside for health IT is expected to go to doctors who have electronic records for Medicare and Medicaid patients.

As the number of seniors in the United States grows, the market for "telehealth" and home health monitoring is expected reach $7.7 billion by 2012. To serve this group, General Electric and Intel announced plans to invest $250 million over the next five years, partnering to develop health care technology.

With analysts predicting a drop in mobile hardware shipments in 2009, manufacturers of mobile and rugged equipment are finding new hope in the health care segment.