Intel and your insides

INTEL TECHNOLOGY ALLOWS NURSES... said the email as it nestled in my inbox.

INTEL TECHNOLOGY ALLOWS NURSES... said the email as it nestled in my inbox. The nurses I know don't tend to wait for permission for anything, but it's an intriguing headline.

...TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH PATIENTS", the headline read in full. Ah, well. The story, as you may have read elsewhere, is of the first tablet PC built around Intel's Mobile Clinical Assistant platform design. It's a bunch of technologies such as RFID, digital cameras, record access and so on, all in a package designed for (and with) nurses to pay attention to the patient rather than the complexities of running the show.

Apart from the rather poor choice of nomenclature - the PC itself is called the C5, and MCA was a failed IBM bus architecture in a previous existence - this is good solid evidence that Intel is intent on following through on its health plans. It's still vertical market stuff, though - if that's the right term for a market where most of the punters are horizontal - and the real fireworks won't start until you, me and the rather sickly chap at number 24 starts buying diagnostic gizmos at the Doctor Digit high street store.

I'd put that at being around ten years away, tops. It'll only take a handful of successful clinical trials for insurance companies to start to offer substantial discounts if you take on this or that aspect of managing your own health.

The market is going to be huge, as I keep banging on. Smart people will be looking at who's making the early moves to control it, and smarter ones will be looking at how to keep the interconnection and interface standards -- on which the whole business will depend -- unassailably open.

More on that later.