GE, Intel to team up on healthcare tech project

By Bernie Monegain
10:07 AM

With a pledge to do their share to transform healthcare and help combat chronic disease, the CEOs of General Electric and Intel announced Thursday a partnership focused on the home health monitoring market.

Together the companies will invest $250 million over five years to market and develop new technology focused on independent living and chronic disease management.

As Louis Burns, vice president and general manager of Intel's digital health group  put it: "Healthcare has to go home."

The partnership begins with the Intel Health Guide.

GE Healthcare will sell and market the Intel Health Guide. The Health Guide is a personal health system that combines an in-home patient device with an online interface to allow clinicians to monitor patients in their homes and manage care remotely. It includes vital sign collection, patient reminders and communications tools such as video conferencing and alerts.The GE-Intel alliance will progress with the development, marketing and distrubution of new home-monitoring technology.

With the dramatic increase of people with chronic conditions and an aging population there is a need to extend care from the hospital to the home, said Jeffrey Immelt, GE Healthcare CEO.

The market for telehealth and home health monitoring is predicted to grow from $3 billion in 2009 to an estimated $7.7 billion by 2012, Immelt noted.

Key elements of the announcement include:

• Global product research and development alliance: GE Healthcare and Intel will work together 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.

• 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 the 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," said Immelt. "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."

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," Otellini said.

In the United States, the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics forecast that by 2030, approximately 71.5 million people will be 65 and older, representing nearly 20 percent of the total U.S. population - up from 37 million Americans in 2006. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and hypertension kill more than 1.7 million Americans per year, and are responsible for 7 of every 10 deaths in the U.S.