Intel (Santa Clara, California) said it is doing its part to reduce the overall cost of healthcare and lessen the amount of fuel used in this country, all in one fell swoop through its newly FDA-approved care management system, dubbed the Intel Health Guide.

The device, which is about the size of a laptop, is aimed at the remote monitoring of patients with chronic conditions.

"If you look at healthcare costs you'll find that the lion's share is going toward patients with chronic diseases," Ray Askew, chronic disease management market segment manager at Intel, told Medical Device Daily. "And with the rising cost of gas prices visits from nurses to a patient's home are expensive. So the question becomes how do you help people stay at home and get the care they need."

The Intel Health Guide combines an in-home patient device, as well as an online interface allowing clinicians to monitor patients and remotely manage care. The solution offers interactive tools for personalized care management and integrates vital sign collection, patient reminders, multimedia educational content and feedback and communications tools such as video conferencing and e-mail.

The Health Guide can connect to specific models of wired and wireless medical devices, including blood pressure monitors, glucose meters, pulse oximeters, peak flow meters and weight scales.

The device stores and displays the collected information on a touch screen and sends to a secure host server, where health care professionals can review the information. Patients using the Health Guide can monitor their health status, communicate with care teams and learn about their medical conditions.

Patients receive periodic updates via a sound alarm or e-mail. Patients can fill out a questionnaire, regarding changes in their bodies or changes in results garnered through the monitoring system. The questionnaire isn't generic, and is constructed based on a patient's individual situation.

Also, clinicians are given notification, and monitor the patients by logging onto a special webpage.

According to the company, the device is at a size that is most accommodating for patients.

"This is by no means a marketing spiel," Askew said, "but I think it's exactly the right size. It's big enough to be interactive with the target population, but small enough to fit on a chest of drawers."

Intel has completed pilot studies in the U.S. and U.K. to facilitate patients' and clinicians' understanding of the Intel Health Guide. Later this quarter, Intel will conduct additional pilots with health care organizations to understand how the guide integrates with different care management models in the home. Intel expects the guide will be commercially available from health care providers in the U.S. and UK in late 4Q08 or early 1Q09.

"This is an important product that will improve the state and cost of healthcare around the world," said Louis Burns, VP/general manager of Intel's Digital Health Group. "It results from years of research to understand the needs of the aging population and how technology can support them in their daily lives. With more people living with chronic diseases, we believe care can be increasingly moved outside of the hospital to the home. Through our research, we've learned that a home-based model of care becomes more than just delivering care to patients at home it is about creating connections to family, friends, caregivers, and the care team."

"We believe the Intel Health Guide represents a new category of personal health systems that goes beyond the simple remote patient monitoring devices available today," Burns said. "We envision a wide range of usage models, not only chronic conditions such as CHF and diabetes, but also programs for health and wellness management at home."

The Intel Health Guide represents a tremendous move by the company to focus into vertical markets. Throughout the years, the company has said its chips and other technologies such as vPro — a series of security and management features built into the silicon itself — can be used as a platform for building notebooks, desktops and tablets PCs for health care institutions that have both processing power and the security to handle sensitive patient records.