Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Med Tech Firms Move Standards Forward

From the Iowa Hospital Association "What's New" Section:

Twenty-two electronics and health companies announced a joint effort to help patients by making high-technology tools work better together. Participants said they were responding to an impending crisis, as a fixed number of doctors and nurses will confront an expected explosion in chronic diseases.

The companies are forming a nonprofit organization, called the Continua Health Alliance, with initial members that include Intel Corp., International Business Machines Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., Samsung Electronics Co., Motorola Inc., Philips Electronics NV, Medtronic Inc., General Electric Co.'s GE Healthcare unit, Kaiser Permanente and Partners HealthCare System Inc., among others. Additional companies are expected to join.

Continua backers expect to shift more care to the home, using devices that monitor the condition of patients and transmit data to medical professionals for analysis and recommendations. Besides helping patients help themselves, the companies hope to make it easier for family members to remotely monitor the condition of patients.

Standard-setting bodies already have been formed to address some of those issues. Continua hopes to go a step further, publishing guidelines so manufacturers can be assured that products they make will work with those from other firms.


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