FDA OKs Intel Telemedicine Device

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the marketing of a new telemedicine device and related services that Intel Corp. is developing.The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company, best known for its computer chips, is piloting the Intel Health Guide at several organizations. It expects to release it commercially late this year or early next year.The chip maker will work with a yet-to-be-announced manufacturer to produce an Intel-branded computer with a touch-screen for use in the homes of patients, especially those with chronic illnesses, says Ray Askew, Intel’s chronic disease management market segment manager. The small devices, measuring 11 inches by 3.5 inches by 10.5 inches, will include a camera for video conferencing between patients in their homes and clinicians. The devices also will have storage capability so that patients can enter data when Internet access is interrupted, Askew says.The home computers can be linked to medical devices, including blood pressure monitors, glucose meters and pulse oximeters, to transmit encrypted data to a secure server via the Internet. They also will display patient reminders, offer access to educational content and accommodate doctor/patient e-mail. Prices for the devices have not yet been set, Askew says.Intel expects to market the devices and related services to “any organization that has responsibility for managing the care of those with chronic conditions,” Askew says. These include hospitals, home health agencies, clinics and payers, among others. Sponsoring organizations, or an aggregated service provider, will store data from patients on a secure server for review by caregivers, who then can schedule videoconferences as appropriate, he explains.Linking this data to personal health records would be “a natural extension” of the product, Askew says. Intel, however, has yet to firm up plans for a PHR link.“We envision a wide range of usage models, not only for chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure and diabetes, but also programs for health and wellness management at home,” says Louis Burns, vice president and general manager of Intel’s digital health group.Because a majority of health care spending is for chronic conditions, information technology can play a key role in cutting the costs involved, Askew adds.(c) 2008 Health Data Management and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.http://www.healthdatamanagement.com http://www.sourcemedia.com

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