GE and Intel today jointly announced a partnership to address the healthcare telemedicine market, which they peg at $3B today, and more than doubling to $7.7B by 2012. Companies agreed to pool $250M for R&D over the next five years. Also, GE will become the channel to take Intel’s Health Guide to market. This announcement will certainly put Philips in an uncomfortable spot as to date, they seem to be in the dark with no significant push or news to note.
What would have been a real killer here is if Peter Neupert, or heck, since this was a CEO affair, Steve Ballmer were also in on the announcement, signing on to the Continua Alliance (something Intel helped get started) and talking about linking telemed to HealthVault (like what is being done at Cleveland Clinic) and subsequently closing the loop to physician practices. But since Microsoft is reluctant to jump on to the Continua bandwagon, why not Eric Schmidt and Google Health since Google Health demonstrated such capabilities last fall at Connected for Health?
The NEJM released a study today on that looked at readmissions of Medicare patients from 2003-2004, finding nearly 20% of Medicare recipients requiring readmission within 30 days of discharge at a cost to taxpayers of $17.4B a year.
Now let’s look at a scenario where we were to combine GE, Intel and HealthVault.
Patient goes in for procedure, is discharge with all instructions, clinical notes etc. loaded up to their HealthVault account, which they can then share with their PCP. Patient also receives a home monitoring kit, ala Health Guide and GE biomtric devices for telemed. With this kit, patient records daily readings that are fed directly into the Health Cloud of HealthVault where the care team, with patient consent, can view daily progress. Also, since it is up in the Cloud, loved ones (remote family members, say a daughter or son) can also monitor progress. If those daily recordings show any problems, there can be quick and more cost effective intervention.
This seems so logical and certainly points to a clear and compelling business opportunity as we certainly do not have th facilities to handle the aging baby boomer population. Now if we can only get Medicare (CMS) to see the logic as to date, they have been extremely reluctant, some say incalcitrant, in funding virtually any telemed. That being said, it does appear that CMS is ever so slowly dipping their toe into telemedicine.