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A field study by Intel and Aetna has found that over 50 per cent of heart failure patients benefited from using the Intel Health Guide appliance with video for remote health care management

June 24, 2010 | Chris Payatagool
Intel_Aetna.jpgPosted 21 June 2010. Intel and Aetna released preliminary study results indicating that chronic heart failure patients who used a remote health management system increased their independence and avoided some hospital stays.

In a joint study, 164 out of 315 Aetna Medicare subjects suffering from chronic heart failure (CHF) were able to avoid some hospital stays by using Intel's telehealth system called Intel Health Guide. The preliminary results were released on 9 June 2010.The final results are due later this year.

Randall Krakauer, MD, Aetna's national Medicare medical director, shared the preliminary results from the Aetna-Intel study on June 9 in Las Vegas at the America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Institute 2010 conference.

The service combines the company's PHS6000 in-home patient device with its Health Care Management Suite, an online platform that allows clinicians to monitor patients and manage care remotely via videoconferencing.

The Intel PHS6000 is based on Intel Core Processor with a 10.4-inch touch screen, 40GB hard drive, webcam, four USB ports, speakers and bluetooth connectivity. (See picture) You can also connect devices such as blood-pressure measuring, weight scales, a spirometer, a pulse oximeter, and blood-glucose monitors. It records your past medical data.

On 26 May 2010, Intel announced it will expand the Intel Health Guide into Europe. General Electric markets the remote-management system in the United States.

During six months of monitoring, patients recorded their medication intake, exercise activities and time in the hospital online using the Intel Health Guide. Through the cloud interface, patients then sent their data to an Aetna nurse case manager remotely.

Remote health management from home can reduce hospitalization and readmission rates and make patients' extended care more cost-effective, according to Intel.
"This study demonstrates how the Intel Health Guide can be used to address the challenges of chronic care management,"  writes Patricia Perry, vice president and director of product delivery for the Intel Digital Health Group, in a statement. "As the number of patients with chronic conditions continues to rise, we must adopt new and innovative remote health management technologies that move us toward a more proactive care model."

Using Intel Health Guide, patients can keep track of vital data such as weight and blood pressure in their home, according to Aetna's Krakauer. "Combined with frequent discussions with Aetna nurse case managers, we believe that members engaged in remote health management will be more successful managing their health," he wrote.

The in-home patient device, the Intel Health Guide PHS6000, is a white box with a touch screen on the outside cover.  Inside, the unit runs on a Pentium-class low-power mobile processor.  Patients can participate in two-way video calls with their clinicians through an integrated video camera, and clinicians can choose Webcams from Microsoft, Creative Labs and Logitech as well as headsets from Plantronics and Microsoft, among others.

No need to worry about security of the patient information. The Intel system protects privacy by using 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) and VPN encryption.

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