Intel, GE Intro Windows 7 Telehealth Tool - InformationWeek

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Intel, GE Intro Windows 7 Telehealth Tool

Care Innovations platform helps doctors monitor patients and remotely manage care, but sidesteps iPhone and iPad devices.

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Care Innovations, an Intel-GE joint venture that develops healthcare systems, has launched the Intel-GE Care Innovations Guide, a telehealth platform designed to improve patient behavior and support healthier lifestyle changes through an interactive relationship between clinician and patient. To reach that goal, it uses desktops as well as tablets, netbooks, laptops, and other mobile devices.

The Care Innovations Guide, which helps doctors monitor patients and remotely manage care, is available only on consumer devices that use the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system. It was introduced last week.

At a time when research shows that the adoption rates of Apple's mobile devices like the iPad and the iPhone are high among physicians and other healthcare stakeholders, officials at Care Innovations said the Guide does not run on these devices, and that they chose the Windows 7 platform for several reasons.

"The Microsoft Windows 7 platform was selected to ensure a broad supply chain, diversity of options and choice, and an established robust, manageable, secure platform," Aaron Duerksen, general manager for Intel-GE Care Innovations' disease management, said in an interview.

However, officials at Care Innovations said they are watching the mobile market as they develop future products.

Lynne Dunbrack, IDC Health Insights' program director for connected health IT strategies, said the guide's lack of availability on Apple devices means that there are a lot of physician- and patient-owned iPhones and iPads that won't be able to use the system. "Supporting one mobile platform is a limiting factor for broad consumer and physician adoption," Dunbrack said. "iPhones and iPads are very popular among consumers and physicians."

On the other hand, Dunbrack said there are still many devices that use Windows 7.

"It is not inconsequential to develop applications, especially those that require 510(k) market clearance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for multiple mobile platforms," Dunbrack added.

In March, the Care Innovations Guide received 510(k) market clearance from the FDA and is now being touted as a platform that will open up a new category of remote health management systems for its customers.

The guide application works with consumer devices that have a secure digital (SD) card slot and webcam. In addition, it will let personal computers, tablets, and other devices connect to specific models of wired and wireless medical peripheral devices, including blood pressure monitors, glucose meters, pulse oximeters, peak flow meters, and weight scales.

Duerksen also said the platform offers an advanced process of branching logic that enables the patient to have conversational interactions instead of just answering survey questions and, based on the conversation, the patient receives multimedia education when he needs it most. In addition, videoconferencing capabilities connect the patient and clinician in a face-to-face dialogue.

The guide application also integrates with electronic medical record systems and connects with the existing IT infrastructure of most healthcare organizations.

Care Innovations announced the guide's first customer, Virtual Health, which will offer subscription-based health and wellness services and will deploy the guide to a population of seniors and high-risk pregnant mothers.

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