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Intel-GE Healthcare company launches in Canada

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Intel-GE Care Innovations, a joint-venture company created by Intel and GE Healthcare, announced that it has started marketing its solutions in Canada. The company is producing technologies in two areas, disease management and independent living.

GE Healthcare demonstrated the joint-venture company’s first offering – the Care Innovations Guide – at the recent eHealth 2011 conference in Toronto. Consisting of software that runs on any Windows 7 device, the solution enables home monitoring of the elderly and those with chronic conditions.

“It’s not dependent on special hardware, and can run on any type of Windows 7 computer,” said Susan May, Market Development Manager, Home Health, for GE Healthcare Canada. One of the attractions of the system is that it can be used with existing, off-the-shelf hardware, rather than specialized equipment.

May pointed out that Guide allows monitoring and communication between a person at home and a hospital, clinic or remote monitoring station.

Many medical devices can be used with it, such as compatible blood pressure monitors, glucose meters, pulse oximeters, peak flow meters and weight scales. The devices can be attached using USB ports or via wireless Bluetooth technology.

Results can be trended, and different colours are used to denote acceptable values and those in need of attention. Alarms can also be set when immediate attention is required.

May explained that patients can also answer sets of questions to provide feedback to caregivers. “It can be programmed in any language, and they don’t have to be yes/no questions,” she said.

What’s more, the system can use voice technology to speak to the patient during the questions and answers. It also supports videoconferencing. “It’s easy to use – the person doesn’t have to go through the hassle of setting up Skype.” Videoconferencing can give caregivers additional information about the health of patients. “Just seeing the patient, you can sometimes tell if he or she is unwell,” said May.

Remote management of patients at home is expected to lead to health improvements, as nurses and other healthcare providers will find out more quickly about changes in the condition of their patients. As a result, responses can be made more quickly, too.

In this way, usage of emergency rooms can also be reduced. “It’s a good way to keep an eye on discharged patients, to make sure they aren’t re-admitted,” said May.

Posted June 16, 2011