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IDF Highlights New Approaches to Reduce Healthcare Costs

By Leslie Fiering | September 16, 2010 | 0 Comments

This is a guest blog from Angela McIntyre, a research director in Gartner’s Client Computing Markets team.

While not a headliner at IDF 2010, the topic of healthcare definitely deserves an honorable mention.  One of the sessions right after Otellini’s keynote was, “Interoperability and Mobile Standards to Jumpstart Healthcare Solutions.”  Intel has taken a leadership role in setting interoperability standards and creating platform reference designs for health monitoring devices in the home.  Intel’s efforts in healthcare are important for productizing technologies that will make it easier for the elderly and infirm to receive medical care.   Yet as a multi-national corporation, Intel recognizes medical devices a fast-growing, multi-billion dollar opportunity, and its healthcare effort could well place x86 architecture at the center.

In-home health monitoring is one approach to slowing the growth of ballooning medical expenses as an increasing portion of the global populations become elderly.  In the U.S. for example, the baby-boomers are now in their 60s. Their need for medical care will contribute to the U.S. expenditure on healthcare doubling from USD 2.11 trillion in 2006 to USD 4.28 trillion in 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.  

The in-home tracking of health will lower costs by reducing the number for routine office visits, allowing elderly patients to spend less time in residential care, and enabling doctors to treat problems early to reduce hospitalization.  A hospital stay is sometimes billed at $10,000 per day and care at a residential facility (nursing home) can cost elderly patients $6000 per month. 

Here are some highlights of how Intel has been enabling in-home healthcare:

Driving Technology Standards

  • Continua Health Alliance (CHA): CHA is a worldwide organization with about 235 companies participating to develop interoperability standards among medical devices and to create a product and services ecosystem around them.  Intel drove the formation of CHA in 2006 and their Director of Personal Health Enabling, Rick Cnossen, is also president and chairman of the board. 
  • Dossia: In 2006, Intel and other global employers founded Dossia, a framework for lifelong electronic health records in the U.S.

Developing Products and Licensing Reference Designs for Healthcare computing platforms

  • Intel Health Guide: A table-top health computer for the home that serves as the hub for collecting vital signs and transmitting them to a physician, video conferencing with doctors, and learning about health-related topics.
  • Mobile Clinical Assistant: The reference design for a rugged tablet PC used by clinicians at the point of care.  It has been productized by major OEMs, which have sold over 100,000 units since 2008.  

Creating technology centers for independent living:

  • Intel established four major centers, focused on Alzheimer’s and aging in place, for the development of technology to assist the disabled in their daily lives.

Of course, Intel’s business interests are well served as disease management in the home is potentially a billion dollar per year global market for hardware.  The standards and reference designs Intel creates will not only benefit the health care industry, but will also benefit Intel by increasing silicon sales.

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

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