Monday, November 10, 2008

Intel Hopes for Healthy Growth in Medical Devices

Everybody’s a Doctor Now!

Intel in a box or Intel in your shorts? reports today that Intel hopes for healthy growth in medical devices.

America's middle class is disappearing along with access to healthcare, and in its wake is the Neo- Have/Have-Not push by elites to segregate the growing underclass from access to coveted, premiere medical care in America. So far, it is working out just fine.

As president-elect Barack Obama shunned a patient friendly Single Payer healthcare model in favor of supporting busine$$ and profits for insurance and technology company executives instead, it is no wonder companies like Intel are barreling ahead with plans to sell its “Intel Health Care Management Suite” to health care organizations. Touted as a “comprehensive online data-collection system for health care organizations, the Intel Health Guide PHS6000 device is intended for patients themselves to operate, not experienced clinicians visiting the homebound as previously speculated.”

Should corporations like Intel profit on being inside your medical care? “Yes!” says the Oregon chip maker. The chipmaker today launched a patient monitoring device and online interface to connect doctors and their patients remotely. Although this technology is touted as a “monitoring device” and is not meant to be a substitute for a trip to the ER, I do have to wonder if Dick Cheney undergoes remote medical service, or if Barack Obama and his family will forgo 1:1 medical attention.

During this unprecedented economic downturn where over fifty million people in America do not have access to healthcare/ insurance with unlimited and increasing millions expected to join the legions of the uninsured, it is hardly questionable as to Intel ‘s motivation to monitor the sick by selling devices that will remove the majority from the coveted 1:1 doctor:patient model of healthcare that elites will continue to enjoy.

“While many see health care moving into the home through technology, it seems like Intel knows government approval alone will not convince people to trust a tech company to dispense medical advice.”

Although this is a huge profit market that Intel has sought to penetrate for years, the model has yet to gain traction and is awaiting market approval, as trials with U.S. with Aetna, Erickson Retirement Communities, Providence Medical Group in Oregon and SCAN Health Plan are underway.

What will all of this “home monitoring” substitution for real visits to/from a specialist provide when non-medically trained individuals are forced to “monitor” themselves with such devices? How many healthcare jobs for American citizens are poised to disappear with the emergence of such devices? Where will these devices be manufactured and what volume of depleting natural resources will they consume? Many questions surround for-profit technologies and solutions that seek to remove the majority of patients from direct 1:1 contact with their physicians -- particularly those which put the overwhelming majority of non-medically trained patients “in-charge of monitoring” their own health with devices that, like most devices, not only are prone to glitches, but are a poor substitute for 1:1 onsite medical diagnosis and care that reputable physicians provide.

This emerging corporate welfare queen model/union of technology and insurance industry for-profit "solutions" like Intel's are positioned to further define the 21st Century's Have/Have-Not divide of hoarding profits for the elitist few at the expense of the many. But the impetus behind the collaboration between insurance and technology corporations is clear -- wild profits off the growing underclass hordes who are slated to be deprived of superior 1:1 medical care.

For now, I’ll put my trust in Single Payer (a hopeless dream with the Obama plan) a cellphone with 911 programmed into it and my doctor’s office phone number any day.



Citizen Carrie said...

Am I correct that we (or insurance companies) are supposed to purchase a whole bunch of electronic home testing equipment, plug them all into a sinister-sounding HAL-type device,then transmit the results to doctors who probably won't even take the time to look at the data once it arrives?

As a commenter noted in one of your links, who the hell is asking for all of this? Certainly not doctors and patients. The next marketing challenge is to convince us nitwits who are firmly stuck in Web 1.9 that this special expensive Intel device will work better than having patients writing down their vitals on a sheet of paper and bringing the paper to the doctor during their next visit. Or, worse yet, typing the information in a word document and emailing the results to a physician.

Can you see the potential for transmitting the results to an overseas service rep. who could look at the results, look at a chart, and advise a patient to increase his insulin dosage?

I've known people who worked on case management projects for insurance companies 10-15 years ago, and these projects were abysmal failures, mostly due to patient noncompliance. The systems were set up to get obese smoking cardiac patients (or diabetics) to sign up for the project, in the hopes that the person would take better care of himself and reduce future medical costs. The person would regularly get printed brochures informing him that he should eat healthy, exercise, stop smoking and lose weight. Nurses would call at regular intervals to get the patient's vital signs and to find out if the patient is staying with the program. A high-ranking doctor with an insurance company even admitted that no unmotivated person is going to start exercising just because a nurse calls twice a week.

The patient's health is the last thing on the minds of these device pushers. These are data collection devices that will do nothing to reduce future medical costs. Here's the key to the real intent, where, in addition to vital signs and feedback and communcation tools (giggle, snort), the device will also deliver surveys and "multimedia educational content"!!!! This is all one big push towards a personalized strategy to market additional health care devices (and probably pharmaceutical products) to patients!

Aren't we supposed to be reducing health care costs? If insurance companies start signing on to these program (since hardly anyone will pay for these devices out of their own pockets), then that will be proof positive of collusion between insurers and medical device manufacturers.

2Truthy said...

This sort of medical devices development will further divide patients from quality healthcare, and are only meant to amass profits for those few who will closely hold stock in these corporations who will increase profits for themselves at the overall dwindling health/expense of the people such devices are supposed to woefully maintain.

I heard a doctor interviewed this evening on a radio talk show who specializes in the field of telemedicine. He said that he does not believe the field of medicine is recession proof(contrary to conventional expectations) and that enterprises are now scrambling to invent the next "bubble" to compensate for what we have taken for granted in terms of conventional medical care.

Between the development of pharmaceuticals and devices taking the place of face to face, one to one patient:medical care, this is an area of "expected growth" that will be capitalized upon by entities seeking to profit against the overall well being of the patient.

Citizen Carrie said...

Mr. CC came up with an interesting point of view last night. He said that since a lot of people will be losing their insurance, hospitals will be hurting for revenue. If Intel and the other device makers can find a way to give hospitals a cut of the revenue, then sales of these devices should really take off. For example, if your physician belongs to a medical practice that gets their paychecks from a hospital (or, rather, a "Health System"), the hospital could sell or rent the equipment to the patient, and the physician could monitor the result.

How much do you want to bet that these devices will not be marketed to Medicaid-dependent nursing home patients?