GE Brings Things to Health

December 2nd, 2008 | Sources: Healthcareitnews,, Wall Street Journal


GE Healthcare has been in a funk for awhile and John Dineen, its new chief executive has been looking to make a splash.

What better way than announce a 5-year, $200 million initiative to develop a national electronic health record system in conjunction with Mayo Clinic, Intermountain Healthcare, Montefiore and UCSF?

Company press releases tell us the system will help providers share medical records, improve the efficiency and quality of care and cut costs. Later iterations will facilitate evidence-based decision making and more informed patient decisions.

Good luck on that John, and we’ll check back in 5 years.

Meanwhile, 60% of GE Healthcare’s $17 billion annual revenue comes from diagnostic imaging which has been plagued by factory-production glitches and diminishing insurance payments, according to the Wall Street Journal.

As well, some customers complain GE’s machines are too complex and require too much training.

The imaging thing drove a 7% drop in GE Healthcare’s operating profit since January, 2007 and forced the unit to riff a few hundred employees last summer.

So why risk diverting attention from an ailing core business on a project that won’t contribute to the bottom line until the Big O is old enough to qualify for social security?

GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt figures ya’ gotta’ start somewhere and the field is too lucrative to pass up. “At the end of the day,” Immelt said in a press release, “Governments are going to spend money on things that drive productivity. Strategically, it’s a great place (to be) long term.”


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