Intel Health Guide Brings Virtual Doctor Visits to the Mainstream

Intel Health Guide

It may sound a little creepy, but Intel thinks that virtual doctor visits are the future of health care for the elderly. The Intel Health Guide, launched in the U.S. last year, is a simple white box with a screen that includes a video camera for doctor-patient communications, on screen reminders for scheduled sessions, and connectivity for a variety of vital sign monitoring machines (glucose meters, blood pressure monitors, etc. Essentially, the Guide keeps patients out of the doctor's office by helping to detect potential medical events before they happen.

Even though the Guide was only released last year, the idea for a virtual doctor system was kicking around Intel for about a decade. "We had social scientists looking at applications of computing technology in the hope of identifying the desire and need of people who wanted to use computers to manage their health care," explained Charles Goodwin, the Director of Market Development for the Intel Health Group. In 2005, the Intel Health Group was formed for just that purpose.

The Intel Health Guide moved out of the pilot stage in November 2008, but customers are still figuring out how the doctor-patient relationship changes with remote patient monitoring. A patient with a chronic health condition, for example, might be able to avoid constant doctor visits if they remain vigilant about using their Health Guide-attached vital sign monitoring machines.

Soon enough, virtual doctor visits will become commonplace. Intel and GE recently announced a $250 million partnership to develop health care and IT technology, and the companies believe that the home monitoring market will balloon from $3 billion today to $7.7 billion by 2012.

Next up for the Intel Health Guide: expanding outside of the U.S and U.K, and establishing connectivity with other back-end systems. "We want to be able to connect the Health Guide with electronic medical record systems in hospitals," Goodwin said.

[Intel Health Guide]

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  • Andrew Eriksen

    This is nothing new to Health care. I personally have been working with practices over the past five years to help them implement Telemedicine in their practice as a means to increase revenue, productivity, and patient satisfaction. Telemedicine was first used by the Military where it is impossible to have face to face dr appointments in most cases. Teleradiology was also one of the first to really tackle this concept because of the ability for Radiologists to read Images from hundreds of miles away and interpret the data without any delay.

    I set up my doctors with Skype and a conference call line where patients call in and the phone conversation is recorded. These visits are used by many specialists and primary care doctors whose patients are technically able. It is billed to their insurance or can be an out of pocket expense and costs less than coming into the office. There are many specialties that are really capitalizing on available technology and providing more efficient care to their patients. Dermatology & Psychiatry represent two of the fastest growing specialties utilizing telemedicine.

    Great article but this is really nothing new.

    Andrew Eriksen, CEO
    Physician Practice Management Services EMR Reviews & Free Solutions
    http://PhysicianCredentialingS... Practice Start Up Assistance

  • Jeremy Burton

    Clearly none of the people involved has seen THX 1138.
    "What's wrong?"
    "I need something stronger"
    "Take four red capsules. In 10 minutes, take two more. Help is on the way."

  • Corvida Raven

    I agree Mahnaz, this could be pretty cool to take advantage of. I don't think it's creepy either Richard.

  • . Milani5

    If anyone can make a Virtual Health Guide, Intel and GE Healthcare Alliance can!

  • Richard Geller

    Creepy? Hardly. Wouldn't Skype work just as well, though? It has the advantage of being free and already widely deployed.

    I also can't help wondering how long will it take to break the stranglehold on medical care delivery, so that automated online systems can provide people with a wide range of basic health services for free in conjunction with consumer-direct competitive medical testing and virtual global consultations with live docs—all at a fraction of the cost of the current delivery system?

    Richard Geller