The FINANCIAL — GE Healthcare, a unit of GE (NYSE:GE), announced on June 21 that the sales and marketing agreement with Intel Corporation for the Intel® Health Guide has been expanded to include Italy.
GE Healthcare already markets the Intel Health Guide in the United States and in the United Kingdom. By tackling the increasing burden of chronic disease and age related conditions in Italy, this extension advances GE’s healthymagination strategy of providing technologies that increase access, improve quality and reduce the cost of delivering healthcare.
According to GE, this agreement marks the further expansion of GE Healthcare’s Home Health business in Europe. Currently the company operates a successful Home Health business in the United States and the United Kingdom, providing technologies to help the elderly live independently and patients with chronic diseases manage their conditions from their home. With 700 employees in Italy, GE Healthcare is a world class provider of technologies for patient monitoring and diagnostic imaging, and has provided services to the Italian National Health Service and the private health sector for more than 30 years.
The Intel Health Guide is a care management tool designed for health care professionals who manage patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart failure. GE Healthcare’s capabilities in diagnostic imaging, disease management, and its distribution reach in the healthcare sector in Italy will help drive understanding of the benefits of this innovative technology, which includes patients’ self-monitoring of health status and a direct communications channel to healthcare professionals.
Chronic conditions are health problems for which there are no cures, but which require ongoing medical management and interventions over a period of years or decades. The likelihood of having a chronic condition increases with age. With the average age of the population in Italy increasing, the number of people with chronic conditions is also likely to increase. In Italy, currently 20% of the population is aged over 65 years. This is predicted to increase to 33% by 2050. The percentage of Italians over 80 is also predicted to more than double from 6% currently to 13% in 20501. As a result, spending on care of patients with chronic conditions is likely to rise substantially as they require long term-care. This creates an enormous and increasing burden for society. With the dramatic increase of people with chronic conditions and an aging population, there is a need to find new models of care and to extend care from the hospital to the home.
Both GE and Intel are currently active in patient monitoring and home health, with well-recognized brands and strong sector expertise:
· GE QuietCare® is a remote passive activity and behavioural monitoring system for the elderly, alerting caregivers to changes that may signal potential health issues or emergency situations such as a fall or emerging health problem. It is used primarily in assisted living facilities. GE Healthcare also brings significant capabilities in the development of products for critical care patient monitoring, cardiac diagnostics, home respiratory care, and healthcare IT such as electronic medical records and clinical decisions support.
· The Intel Health Guide is a comprehensive personal health system combining an in-home patient device with an online interface to allow clinicians to monitor patients in their homes and manage care remotely. The Health Guide includes vital sign collection, patient reminders and communications tools such as video conferencing and alerts. Intel already has a number of pilot programs underway in Europe to assess how the Health Guide can improve care management models in the home.
"This is a major step forward in exploring new ways of delivering care" said Sandro De Poli, General Manager of GE Healthcare, Italy. "The increasing cost and burden of chronic disease is a huge problem in Italy, but we believe new health technologies and new approaches to care will make a difference in the future. It’s an excellent fit with GE’s healthymagination strategy, which aims to develop innovations and new ways of delivering care that improve access, increase quality and reduce the cost of healthcare."
Dario Bucci, Intel Country Manager for Italy and Switzerland said, "We believe that shifting non-urgent care from the hospital to the home through technologies such as the Intel Health Guide is central to achieving a more personalized and cost-effective health care system. Intel has been working with health organizations and policy makers in Europe to support the adoption of innovation in healthcare delivery and on a number of telehealth pilot schemes. The collaboration with GE Healthcare in Italy will bring improved understanding of this type of technology to a wider audience and increase the rate of adoption for telehealth systems as a method to help address chronic care challenges and bring benefits to patients and the national health system"