Intel's stay-at-home Health Guide gets US FDA nod

Chipmaker Intel Corp has received 501(k) market clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration for its in-home personal health system - the Intel Health Guide.

The Intel Health Guide is a care management tool for health care professionals who manage patients with chronic conditions. The guide combines an in-home patient device with an online interface that allows clinicians to monitor patients and remotely manage care.

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. It 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.

The device weighs around two kilograms and has a 40 GB hard drive. At present, it only runs on Windows XP. Patients using it can monitor their health, communicate with care professionals and learn about their medical conditions.

Intel has completed pilot studies in the US and UK and will conduct additional pilots with health care organizations. The company expects the guide to be commercially available in the US and UK late in the fourth quarter or early in the first quarter of 2009.

"This is an important product that will improve the state and cost of health care around the world," said Louis Burns, vice president and 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,'' he added.

Intel joins several other companies in fusing technology and health care devices. Recently, IBM announced it could diagnose osteoporosis with a supercomputer. Other devices, such as an in-car system that measures glucose levels of diabetics and an implant that measures radiation in cancer patients, have also been developed.