Despite attempts on the part of the Homecare Automation Report Tech. Weekly to paint Intel as a big bad wolf, the more you look at this story, the harder it is to see it as other than a responsible company doing what it has to do. Here, as far as I can discover, is the sequence of events:
1. Back in May, Intel bought WebVMC.
2. A few months ago Intel started to set up to manufacture the WebVMC remote nurse health terminal to brand as its Health Guide.
3. In doing so, Intel’s technicians noticed a minor design flaw that could potentially produce a hazard for users. (Apparently no WebVMC users have ever reported the problem.)
4. Intel notified the US Federal Drug Administration, as it is required to do for an identified problem with any medical device previously approved by it.
5. Intel set in process a requirement for service providers using the WebVMC kit (such as supplied by Home Telehealth Ltd in the UK) to make a minor modification to units already in use, to return units that had not been issued and eventually replace the ones in use.
6. The UK´s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued a field safety notice based on the information provided but is taking no further action at this time.
The Homecare Automation Report article linked to above points out that there is an issue between Intel and some US purchasers of WebVMC kit about the value put on the returned items but, I understand, this is not the case in the UK.
Home Telehealth Ltd, which is the UK distributor for the Intel/WebVMC device is also taking its responsibilities seriously. Peter Range, MD of Home Telehealth Ltd said that all its customers, including the Cornwall Whole System Demonstrator (WSD) Programme site, are aware of the situation and that the company is working with them individually to put in place a programme to make the necessary changes to the equipment.
My conclusion is that it is reassuring to see these companies handling this in a responsible and professional way.