GE buys elder care remote monitoring start-up

By Brian Dolan
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GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric, has acquired remote monitoring company Living Independently Group for an undisclosed sum. LIG's key product is still in development: QuietCare is an infrared sensor system that monitors seniors activity throughout the day and sends alerts to caregivers if seniors appear to need assistance. GE Healthcare acquired a minority stake in the New York-based start-up in September 2008.

LIG planned to offer QuietCare worldwide and targeted senior housing, home care, hospitals, health systems, other aging services professionals and individuals aging-in-place as its potential customer base.

The acquisition follows hot on the heels of GE Healthcare's agreement with Intel earlier this year. As part of that deal, GE began marketing Intel's Health Guide. At the time of the agreement, QuietCare was highlighted as a key offering that GE brought to the table. Intel and GE plan to invest $250 million over the next five years for research and development into this emerging market of wireless sensors. Intel and GE predict that the home-health monitoring market will grow to $7.7 billion by 2012, which means it would more than double from today’s $3 billion home-health monitoring market.

Modern Healthcare has a thorough description of how LIG's QuietCare system works:

"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. ... 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."

For more, read this article from Modern Healthcare