US computer chip-maker Intel Corp. and industrial giant General Electric on Thursday announced plans to team up in home health technology, a sector expected to see rapid growth in coming years.
Intel and GE said they were investing 250 million dollars over the next five years into research and development of home-based health technologies.
The companies said they were forming an alliance to develop products that would help seniors live independently and patients with chronic conditions manage their care from home or elsewhere.
They said they would expand their current efforts to include "new areas such as fall prevention, medication compliance, sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and personal wellness monitoring."
They also said that GE Healthcare, GE's health unit, would sell and market the Intel Health Guide, a tool designed for healthcare professionals who manage patients with chronic conditions.
"With the dramatic increase of people with chronic conditions and an ageing population there is a need to extend care from the hospital to the home," the companies said in a statement.
They said the market for telehealth and home health monitoring is expected to grow from three billion dollars in 2009 to an estimated 7.7 billion dollars by 2012.
"Improving healthcare accessibility and reducing costs are essential to economic recovery and growth," said GE chairman and chief executive Jeff Immelt.
"We think this partnership offers the potential to lower costs by keeping people out of hospitals while giving health professionals the data they need to deliver the best possible care."
"The GE and Intel partnership will not only help seniors and the chronically ill, but will also take a giant step forward in changing how healthcare is delivered," said Intel president and chief executive Paul Otellini.
According to official figures cited by the companies, nearly 20 percent of the US population, some 71.5 million people, will be 65 years old and older by 2030, up from 37 million in 2006.