Intel Hopes for Healthy Growth in Medical Devices

intelhealthguidebloodpressurecuffIf mobile Internet devices don’t work out, Intel is also making inroads in the personal health market. The chipmaker today launched a patient monitoring device and online interface to connect doctors and their patients remotely. This is an industry Intel (s INTC) has targeted for years, but because of a host of reasons, a market where the company has never gained much traction.

The Intel Health Guide product gained FDA approval in July, surmounting one of the obstacles technology faces as it enters the human body, but it still has to gain market acceptance. Aside from FDA approval, medical tech needs to gain acceptance by caregivers, patients and health insurers. Getting all three stakeholders behind a new product or a new way of delivering health care is tricky. Because the end users of the device don’t typically pay for the systems, it’s a far more involved process than simply convincing a device manufacturer that your chips, software or component works best for their particular application.

Intel’s launching trials in the U.S. with Aetna (s AET), Erickson Retirement Communities, Providence Medical Group in Oregon and SCAN Health Plan, proving that Intel knows it needs to get the technology buyers on board before trying to explain the value to doctors and educate patients. I’ll keep my hopes up, because I do believe technology can deliver great benefits in the healthcare sector for everyone involved. However, I also know that getting accepted is difficult — and that acceptance only the begining. Once the stakeholders sign on to such a system, businesses and policy makers need to address questions of securing the information, as well as the ethics of remote monitoring. But the potential for huge growth as Baby Boomers age and the multiple types of chips such systems will need make it a market that’s hard to ignore.