Intel and GE have announced a joint healthcare venture that marks a major step in the progress of Intel's healthcare IT efforts. Intel has been steadily increasing its investment in healthcare projects over the past decade, growing initially from a set of internal efforts that resulted in the 2008 launch of the Intel Health Guide. In April of last year, Intel and GE announced an agreement to collaborate on healthcare, with the two companies pledging a combined $50 million per year of research dollars over a five-year period. Intel's Paul Otellini later began publicly advocating for a greater role for IT in healthcare, and the company spent much of 2009 touting the IHG as a model for healthcare's future.
The new Intel/GE spinoff company has yet to be named, but the two companies will split ownership of it 50/50. The company will combine GE Healthcare's Home Health division and Intel's Digital Health Group, and it will launch later this year pending regulatory approval. Intel's and GE's joint statement explains that the venture will "focus on three major segments: chronic disease management, independent living and assistive technologies." Note that all of these areas are mainly patient-facing, as opposed to electronic medical records and other, more traditional examples of "healthcare IT." This patient focus is logical given that much of Intel's software research is driven by novel and processor-intensive user interface ideas (e.g., software that can use a camera to track an elderly person's gait in order to anticipate a fall and possibly contact emergency medical services).
Intel has done these kinds of joint ventures before, the most widely known of which is probably IM Flash, LLC—an Intel/Micron joint venture that produces NAND flash memory.
Source: ars technica