GE and Intel have formed a healthcare alliance to develop and market home-based technologies for the elderly and people with chronic illness.

The alliance was announced alongside an investment of $250m (£170m) over the next five years in the research and development of home-based technologies. Under the agreement, GE Healthcare is to sell and market the Intel Health Guide, a care management tool designed for patients with chronic conditions.

Both companies also plan to expand their current development programmes in home health and independent living technologies to include areas such as fall prevention, medication compliance, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnoea, diabetes and personal wellness monitoring.

GE chief executive, Jeff Immelt, said: ‘Improving healthcare accessibility and reducing costs are essential to economic recovery and growth. 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. Intel and GE share a vision to use technology to bring effective healthcare into millions of homes and to improve the lives of seniors and people with chronic illness. Together we can deliver innovative products to serve this rapidly growing market.’

The partnership has come on the back of strong industry forecasts, with the market for telehealth and home-health monitoring predicted to increase from $3bn in 2009 to $7.7bn by 2012.

Intel president and chief executive, Paul Otellini, added: ‘Most of the healthcare discussions today focus on the integration of more technology into traditional healthcare settings. While those investments are necessary and will create a more efficient healthcare system, it is not sufficient to meet the growing needs that are about to impact a system that is already at a saturation point. 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.’

GE and Intel are currently involved in patient monitoring and home health through GE QuietCare and the Intel Health Guide products. Both companies have also recently announced their involvement in externally funded independent living and home-health research programmes in Hungary and Ireland.