Intel announced (last week actually) that they've reorganized their company along key vertical markets -- and for the first time, designated health care as a target. It seems that these large companies catch "healthcare fever" from time to time, thinking more about the market opportunity than core competancies or what a strange and alien place the health care market really is.
" Industry analysts [who all see Intel as a potential fat cat client] say computer chip maker Intels recently announced move into the healthcare IT market is the right decision at the right time."
I don't want to date myself too much, but who remembers AT&T's foray into PACS? And IBM has skirted health care for years, starting with PCS, a specialized bedside computer, and a very cool EMR (that they consequently gave to the IBM/Baxter Systems Division joint venture -- and that BSD proceeded to ruin). Some of these efforts resulted in meaningful adoption (okay, I can only think of PCS) but none of them made money, and in each case the company ended up exiting the business.
Intel's potential product focus includes, " ...technology platforms to support remote monitoring, wearable monitoring devices, or platforms associated with handheld devices and security applications ." Some of this is cutting edge stuff -- costly R&D, significant regulatory hurdles, loooong market adoption -- not an easy task for a company that lives quarter to quarter. Another guess at the direction that Intel might take includes, " ...technology platforms to support remote monitoring, wearable monitoring devices, or platforms associated with handheld devices and security applications." All this "platform" talk hints at general purpose computing technology tweaked for healthcare. Hmm, a "gateway on a chip" with Zigbee and 802.11a/b/g radios would certainly hasten the introduction of wireless sensor based monitoring.
Healthcare fever has been survived through a couple of treatments: acquisitions (GE comes to mind) or spinning off a separate company (Delphi Medical is a new entrant along these lines). Typical experience includes spending lots of cash hiring people and developing technology, hitting the collective head against the wall repeatedly, lay-offs and write-offs, and (if they're lucky) a resulting set of products based on their core business that's applicable to health care.
I wish Intel the best. Some of their prospective products could contribute to improved patient flow via the Universal Bed concept.