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Intel unveils health care system

Posted: 11 Nov 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:systems integrator  health care services  Intel Health Guide 

Intel Corp. has decided it wants to be the first big systems integrator in what it believes could be a multi-billion dollar market for home health care services. The world's biggest chip maker formally announced it plans to sell a new line of systems, software and services to health care providers.

The Intel Health Guide is a PC customised to monitor vital signs and deliver health services to elderly patients managing chronic health conditions. Based on an Intel motherboard, the system is designed to be simple enough for technophobic users but robust enough to have received FDA Type 2 certification in August, a first for the company.

Intel provides the software to run both the new device and computers used by health care professionals to track and communicate with patients using it. The chip maker will even host those services and provide consulting to health care groups who want to set them up.

The move is an effort to define a common platform for the emerging field of remote health care expected to reach Rs.25,018.20 crore ($5 billion) in 2010 and explode to Rs.170,123.73 crore ($34 billion) by 2015, according to a recent report. It also marks a major expansion for Intel which has been studying the health care market for several years, but to date focused on defining systems and standards.

Intel helped spearhead the Continua Health Alliance, a 100+ member group that will release before the end of January its first specifications for designing interoperable personal health care systems. The company also created a reference design for a portable computer for health care professionals. Panasonic recently launched a system based on the Intel design.

"This is a much, much deeper commitment," said Louis Burns, general manager for the company's Digital Heath division started nine years ago.

"This is an Intel Health branded end- to-end solution, not just a piece of hardware," he said. "Customers want us to host and manage this," he added.

Scan Health Plan, a large Medicare administrator, is one of a handful of health care providers try the Intel offering, initially in a test with 25 patients with chronic heart disease. "If this works effectively by mid-2009, we hope to roll it out to several hundred patients, and within a year to our entire network 105,000 members," said Hank Osowski, senior vice president of corporate development for Scan Health.

"We have no doubts about the technology, but we want to understand if the seniors and clinicians can use it effectively," he said. "The power of this system is we can use it to see many more people on a daily basis and let seniors engage in their own health care," he added.

"We have a number of pilots starting or getting ready to start on three continents," said Burns.

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