Mayo Clinic, GE and Intel team up to test telemedicine for chronically ill

As part of the first-ever study examining the effects of home-based monitoring across a variety of chronic conditions--rather than one specific disease--the Mayo Clinic, GE Healthcare and Intel will join forces to plug in to the health needs of 200 elderly patients at high risk for re-hospitalization.

Every day for one year, study participants will use at-home medical devices to measure their blood pressure, pulse, weight and other vital signs as well as answer several disease-specific questions. The Intel Health Guide System will transmit the data to Mayo clinicians, who will then use a color-coded dashboard to determine when readings are outside the normal range and require intervention, which may include on-the-fly video conferencing between patient and provider.

"We're targeting an older age group, many of whom have multiple chronic conditions," Gregory Hanson, MD, a Mayo physician and principal researcher in the study, tells InformationWeek. By keeping this fast-growing population's diabetes, heart failure, lung disease and other illnesses in check remotely, the partners predict the new care model will help rein in costs and improve patient outcomes.

The research is part of Intel and GE Healthcare's ongoing commitment announced in April 2009 to jointly develop and market technologies for independent living and chronic disease management. The two companies plan to invest $250 million over the next five years into the research and development of these technologies.

Meanwhile, the Mayo Clinic recently launched two research-based consumer applications (apps) for iPhone and iPod Touch. The Mayo Clinic Symptom Checker, a free app launched yesterday, features an adult and child symptom checker designed to help users administer self-care and determine when additional care is needed.

The other app, Mayo Clinic Meditation, has been available for $2.99 on iTunes since January and guides users through techniques designed to strengthen the communication between the mind and body. The techniques, which can be performed in any quiet setting, are based on four years of research by Amit Sood, MD, physician in complementary and alternative medicine at Mayo.

To learn more about the Mayo, Intel, GE partnership:
- see this Healthcare IT News story 
- see this InformationWeek story 
- and see this press release about Mayo's new mobile apps