GE and Intel Corp. are in the healthcare business — big time.
The twin colossi will spend $250 million over five years to develop products to remotely monitor patients’ health. The growing field, called “telemedicine” or “e-health,” allows physicians to remotely evaluate, diagnose and treat patients outside of the doctor’s office.
News of the deal broke yesterday, but the companies made the official announcement at a press conference today in New York.
Michael Mathur, the CEO of BL Healthcare, which makes a platform that enables healthcare providers to manage and educate their patients through the patients’ televisions, said the GE/Intel initiative is a good thing for the market, even if it means more competition for his relatively small company.
“Its a good thing for the industry,” Mathur said, mainly because it validates an argument he’s been making since 2005, when BL entered the healthcare market.
“[Investors] have been questioning the viability of this type of solution,” he explained, adding that the first question he had to face was always, “Where’s the market?”
Having two of the world’s biggest companies dropping a quarter of a billion dollars on the market seems to answer that question in full.
Mathur said remote health monitoring is a critical cog in controlling rising health care costs, because they engage patients, encouraging them to become more informed about their health care decisions.
“Unless the patient takes control, we will still see [healthcare] costs rising,” Mathur said. “We have to give incentives and provide easy access from home.”