GE jumps back into PERS
FAIRFIELD, Conn. and SANTA CLARA, Calif.--GE and Intel Corp. on April 2 announced an alliance to research, develop and market home-based health technologies with the aim of helping seniors and patients with chronic conditions live independently and manage their care from wherever they choose. The alliance is a plunge back into the PERS market after a decision made by GE in August of 2008 to discontinue its PERS CareGuard product line (search “GE discontinues CareGard” at www.securitysystemsnews.com).
According to GE corporate public relations manager Arvind Gopalratnam, the partnership will have a profound impact on the PERS industry. “The goal of the partnership is to develop future technologies that improve the healthcare that exists,” Gopalratnam said. “One of the big goals is to better be able to empower patients to take care of themselves.”
Along with the partnership, the companies also announced an investment of more than $250 million over the next five years for research and product development of home-based health technologies. GE Healthcare will also sell the Intel Health Guide, a personal health system that aids in patients’ self-monitoring of health status and provides a direct communications channel to healthcare professionals.
The pre-existing GE Quiet Care solution is typical of the sort of innovation the GE/Intel alliance will yield, making in-home health monitoring easier. Quiet Care is “a way to seamlessly and noninvasively keep an eye on the elderly,” according to Gopalratnam.
Gopalratnam also said while the effect of the GE/Intel partnership will be felt most immediately by the elderly, a day could come when beneficiaries of the healthcare alliance will include anyone wanting to monitor their health. “Right now it’s the baby boomer generation. It’s those who are getting older who need to either be in nursing homes or assisted living facilities,” Gopalratnam said. “As the partnership gets a little older the focus should be more on the general consumer in all areas.”
According Mike Bodnar, general manager of PERS provider, SafetyCare, the alliance will benefit all. “At SafetyCare we see this as a positive thing for the industry,” Bodnar said. “Overall, the fact that two big boys like GE and Intel are partnering up to put product offerings out there … It’s going to be equipment related, and that’s good news for the industry.”