Chip manufacturer Intel Corporation has gained FDA approval for its Health Guide PHS6000 electronic device that allows patients with chronic conditions to be monitored remotely and relevant information to pass between patients and their health professionals without the patient having to visit the hospital or talk to them on the phone.

Intel’s Health Guide has an online interface that allows clinicians to monitor and manage patients remotely. The interactive device which can be attached to blood pressure monitors and other home based equipment, sends vital sign data to the clinician, shows patient reminders, presents multimedia educational content, and allows patients and clinicians to communicate by video conference and email. It looks like a medium sized chunky laptop with a touch screen.

Vice president and general manager of Intel’s Digital Health Group, Louis Burns, said last week that:

“This is an important product that will improve the state and cost of health care around the world.”

“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.”

The Health Guide can connect with certain models of wired and wireless equipment, such as blood pressure monitors, weight scales, glucose meters, pulse oximeters, and peak flow meters. The device stores and displays the data it collects on a touch screen and sends it to a secure host server, where it can be viewed by the health care professional.

Intel said they could see their tool not only supporting patients with chronic conditions but also other illnesses such as congestive heart failure (CHF) and diabetes, and it also has potential for more general use such as managing health and wellness at home.

Ease of use and understanding of the Health Guide has been piloted in the US and the UK and later this quarter, Intel will carry out furter pilots to test the device in connection with different care management models in the home. The company expects to start marketing the tool through health care providers in the US and the UK at the end of this year or early next year.

In the FDA notification submission, the section that describes the Health Guide states that the device is:

“Not intended for diagnosis or as a substitute for medical care and it is not intended to provide real time data. It is made available to patients when time-critical care is not required. It is contraindicated for patients requiring direct medical supervision or emergency intervention of managing its use. Clinical judgment and experience by a caregiver are required to check and interpret the information delivered.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Burns acknowledged that other remote patient monitoring devices exist, but stressed that the Health Guide had a different approach that more closely involved the patient in their own care.

The aim is to help medical and insurance companies save money by pushing more of the burden of caring for an aging population out of hospitals and into patients’ homes.

Click here to view an image of the device (Intel press release photo).

Click here to view FDA Notification and Submission of the device (PDF).

Sources: Intel, FDA, Wall Street Journal.

Written by: Catharine Paddock, PhD