Why GE wants your healthcare information (in the cloud)

Wed, 2015-12-09 06:00 -- Doug Peeples

With the launch of its new cloud ecosystem, Council Lead Partner GE envisions a way for radiologists, clinicians and other medical professionals to collaborate on patient cases quickly and efficiently.

The GE Health Cloud and the applications associated with it are expected to remedy current problems with patient diagnosis and treatment. According to survey data GE cites, up to 35% of patients are misdiagnosed, often because the medical professionals treating them don't have access to patient records and images. Industry consolidation and costs add to the challenge of ensuring the best patient outcomes.

What GE Healthcare, a unit of parent company GE, wants to do is connect 500,000 medical imaging machines around the world and store the data and records in the cloud where it can be turned into valuable, readily accessible insights.

"Our ultimate goal is to help improve patient care and drive superior clinical, financial and operational outcomes alongside healthcare providers," GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said when GE Health Cloud was announced recently. "By connecting clinicians and the insights needed, when and where they need them, clinicians can take action to improve healthcare outcomes and delivery around the globe."

The basics of how works
After the imaging equipment is connected, image processing will be moved away from on-site machines to the cloud where the 3-D images will be stored and available as needed. As part of the Health Cloud launch, GE also has invited third party developers to join and create new apps in the cloud ecosystem.

Health Cloud already includes four radiology apps, and all of them focus on advanced imaging and support for collaboration. "Our new apps will bring incredible computing and mobility power to radiologists and clinicians. By enhancing radiologists' speed and confidence through the apps, we can help improve their ability to collaborate with referring clinicians inside and outside the hospital," explained GE Healthcare IT President and CEO Jan De Witte.

The expectation is that Health Cloud will bring together academic institutions, developers, hospitals and manufacturers working toward improved patient care and the tools clinicians need to provide it.

GE says the Health Cloud and its apps could save the healthcare industry $30 billion per year.

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Doug Peeples is a Portland, Oregon-based writer specializing in technology and energy. Follow @smartccouncil on Twitter.