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12/1/2009
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GE Healthcare Buys Wireless Monitoring Device Maker

Living Independently Group's wireless technology tracks seniors' daily activities, watching for changes that could signify a medical problem or emergency.

GE Healthcare has acquired Living Independently Group, a provider of a passive monitoring system used to assist in the care of seniors.

Living Independently's product, QuietCare, uses wireless sensors to non-intrusively track the daily patterns of seniors' activities. QuietCare alerts caregivers to behavioral changes that may signal potential health problems and emergencies, allowing for fast intervention. The technology is used in many leading assisted living facilities and senior communities across the country, the companies said.

GE Healthcare, a subsidiary of General Electric, provides technology for patient monitoring and diagnosis of disease. Terms of the acquisition weren't disclosed.

The acquisition follows a September 2008 announcement that GE Healthcare had taken a minority ownership stake in Living Independently, and that the two companies had agreed to market and co-develop QuietCare globally.

In September of this year, QuietCare was named as a "Healthymagination" product under GE's Healthymagination initiative to increase access to healthcare while reducing cost and increasing quality.

"Increasing pressure on healthcare budgets worldwide, coupled with demographic changes such as the growing aging population, present enormous healthcare challenges in the care of seniors and the management of patients with chronic disease," said Agnes Berzsenyi, general manager of GE Healthcare's Home Health business, in a statement.

GE Healthcare has made significant investments in its Home Health business over the past year, the company said. In November 2008, GE Healthcare announced it was leading a consortium of Hungarian companies and universities to develop remote monitoring technologies for seniors and patients with chronic diseases. In April, it joined with Intel in announcing an alliance to invest $250 million in the development of new technologies to assist independent living for seniors and patients with chronic diseases.

Several companies are using wireless technologies to track Alzheimer's patients, including a service produced in partnership with the Alzheimer's Association.

EmFinders' EmSeeQ is a watch-like wearable device integrated nationally with 911 systems to quickly locate adults and children with cognitive disabilities, such as Alzheimer's and autism, in emergencies.

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