HealthCommentary

Exploring Human Potential

GE Buy Expands Home Health Line

December 1, 2009

Healthcare has acquired Living Independently Group Inc., which sells the QuietCare wireless, sensor-based passive patient monitoring system for use in assisted living facilities, senior communities and private homes. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Waukesha, Wis.-based GE Healthcare in September 2008 announced it would market QuietCare. GE also acquired an undisclosed minority ownership stake in New York-based Living Independently Group.

The acquisition expands GE’s home health business line. The company markets the Health Guide touch-screen home monitoring device from Intel Corp. The two companies also have an alliance to invest $250 million in the development of new technologies to assist seniors and patients with chronic disease to live independently. GE also leads a consortium of Hungarian companies and universities to develop remote monitoring technologies. 

The QuietCare system is designed to detect problems a resident may be having and alert caregivers, while protecting the resident’s privacy. Motion sensors throughout an apartment or home use infrared technology to track a resident’s movements and feed the information to a base station in the apartment or home. Software in the base station “learns” a resident’s daily activities, such as the number of nightly bathroom visits, the times meals are made and when prescriptions are taken.

The base unit transmits data to Living Independently Group via telephone lines. The vendor analyzes the data for deviations from normal activity for a resident. For instance, a resident who failed to take a morning trip to the bathroom or make breakfast in the kitchen may have fallen or have other health issues. The vendor alerts caregivers to possible problems via pager, telephone, e-mail or a secure Web site. The sensors also monitor temperature and send alerts if an apartment is dangerously hot or cold.

More information is available at quietcaresystems.com.

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