To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of the demise of healthcare innovation at Intel are greatly exaggerated. Given that many of the world’s healthcare information systems run on Intel technologies, I would go so far as to say that it would be almost impossible for a company as large and as global as Intel not to be working on healthcare innovation, even if we wanted to stop. Yet, because of a birthday I will talk about in a second, there are sometimes perceptions out there that Intel has stopped all healthcare activities. We have changed how we are organized but have not stopped healthcare innovation!
And why would we?
Healthcare is poised to be one of the largest growth opportunities for computing over the next decade. It is already the largest sector of the global economy–and the largest percentage of GNP for almost every nation–even before Global Aging swells the ranks of retirees and reduces the rolls of doctors and nurses available to care for our swiftly aging planet. Globally, we spend more human capital on caring for our health than any other human endeavor. More than 25 countries have recently passed healthcare reform laws with many–like the U.S., China, and Australia to name a few–making massive investments in health IT to “future proof” their healthcare infrastructure for the 21st century. And as computing becomes more powerful, ubiquitous, affordable, connected, and secure, healthcare is finally becoming more automated and algorithmic, from medical devices and equipment to clinical systems running on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smart phones to cloud-based and “big data” servers that enable population analytics and genomics unimaginable even a couple of years ago. In short, the era of Personalized Medicine is upon us, and it will require a transformation of computing as we know it, even as we transform healthcare as we know it.
So why do I bring this up now?
This month marks the first birthday of Care Innovations, the Intel GE joint venture focused on personal health technologies and new care models for the home and community. It has been an amazing year watching Care Innovations launch new products, build its own culture, and move into great new offices near Sacramento, Portland, and New York City! As a small company that inherited great assets from our parent companies, Care Innovations also gained the freedom and responsibility to blaze our own trail. Led by former Intel VP, Louis Burns, Care Innovations is delivering telehealth, independent living, remote patient monitoring, and assistive technologies–and working with care providers around the country to transform their care models using these technologies. As the director of public policy for Care Innovations, I am proud to be part of this venture and will cover many policy issues about shifting care to the home in this blog in the coming months, particularly during this healthcare-contentious election year in the United States.
But I also serve as director of health innovation and policy for Intel, and I want to clear up any misconception about the status of other healthcare innovation efforts at Intel. A year into this, I sometimes am asked whether Intel has ended all other healthcare work and/or spun everything out with Care Innovations. While it is true that there is no longer a single, dedicated business unit at Intel focused on healthcare–what was formerly called the “Intel Digital Health Group” led by Louis Burns did spin out for the most part–there are still well over a dozen Intel teams globally driving a wide range of innovative projects. This website highlights many of the health IT related efforts we are focused on. And below is a sample of some of the activities currently happening at Intel–many of which I will be blogging about in the coming months:
- Intel sales and marketing experts continue to partner with healthcare organizations worldwide on the implementation of health IT, especially around cloud computing, security, and clinician mobility.
- Our Intelligent Systems Group continues to deliver Intel technologies into a wide range of medical customers and devices, from MRI machines to fitness equipment.
- The Intel “World Ahead” program just launched the “Skoool Healthcare Education” platform in Sri Lanka with a goal to help educate 1 million health workers by 2015.
- Various R&D groups inside Intel have explorations ranging from ubiquitous healthapplications on smart phones to the future of biosilicon and artificial organs.
- Intel architects and engineers have been invited in many countries to help design secure cloud architectures for EHRs, insurance exchanges, and regional health information networks.
- An Intel team is working on the challenge of delivering high performance computing to help usher in next generation genomics for personalized medicine.
- Our global public policy organization continues to work with governments worldwide on health innovation, from broadband plans to changing reimbursement models for virtual care.
- Our team of clinicians, social scientists, and engineers are working on next generation tablet designs for doctors and nurses, building upon the Mobile Clinical Assistant (MCA) reference design.
- Intel recently helped to pilot a telemedicine network in rural Mexico that may well expand to the entire country to help connect patients and medical experts.
- We began work in China–and other countries–on the development of a blueprint on how to build “Age Friendly Cities” that use technology to drive better healthcare quality, access, & costs.
- Our social science team has been conducting ethnographic studies to inform the future of primary care/general practice using coordinated care teams and collaboration technologies.
And the list above continues to grow, not surprisingly, as so many countries and companies invest in the healthcare sector. Each quarter, I bring together Intel teams who are working in some way, shape, or form on healthcare innovation, and I continue to be amazed to find out where Intel’s people and our technologies touch as our compute continuum meets the care continuum from hospital to home.
So, a “Happy Birthday” goes out to our partner and sister company, Care Innovations! And to all of our Intel collaborators, customers, and colleagues out there, I add: “Healthcare innovation is alive and well at Intel!” Please be sure to continue to reach out to your Intel contacts to find out about the many amazing ways in which we are working on the future of healthcare. After all, Intel’s audacious corporate vision reads: “This decade we will create and extend computing technology to connect and enrich the lives of every person on earth.” If this decade is also the beginning of the era of personalized medicine, it follows that these two visions are well intertwined. There are many of us still painted “Intel blue” who are determined to deliver upon that vision for healthcare. It’s hard to imagine a more exciting business opportunity for our company; it’s hard to imagine a more important calling for our world