With its software and devices in almost every country around the globe, GE Healthcare is tackling issues such as interoperability, security and efficiency head on.
Speaking at the Digital Health Innovation Summit, Charles Koontz, president and CEO of GE Healthcare IT, and chief digital officer for GE Healthcare, said the company’s footprint means it has about 69 billion images in its system and a 40 to 45 percent market share in imaging.
That makes imaging a key area of focus, of course, but also means many customers want GE to be part of their strategy.
“Our strategy is to provide the digital layer,” said Koontz. “As care is moving outside of the hospital, we have to create a digital connection—an interface between providers and payers.” Along with providing that layer, GE applies analytics to improve outcomes, reduce costs and provide the tools to make key decisions to improve outcomes.
GE is applying deep learning to images to improve diagnostic accuracy, Koontz said. “One-third of radiologic exams are misdiagnosed. When we look at our early tests, we’ve proven that can take that accuracy level up to over 90 percent.”
To diffuse that kind of improvement, the company is developing apps at the condition level. They apply algorithms to curated images, which enable the algorithm to get smarter over time.
GE also wants to improve the throughput of radiology, he said: “We’re working on a 50% reduction in read time.”
That’s an ambitious goal and the company’s strategy is through a series of collaboration tools, which will begin to go live early next year.
Workforce management is critical for GE, Koontz added, because “labor is a huge piece of the cost picture.” Examining patters – even of events that seem totally unrelated – could provide great insight. For example, a big sporting event will lead to an increase in ER visits. “The issue we’re wrestling with is that in what may seem like completely unrelated datasets, there actually are correlations.”
To address all of these challenges, GE is trying to solve for and with its customers’ data liquidity. “We have to make our software agnostic and quickly,” Koontz said.
A decade ago, companies sought their own systems but today’s technologies encourage company to consider sharing technologies. But security is essential. In addition to making sure “the bad guy can’t come in during an exam and jack up radioactivity levels,” there is a growing focus on cloud computing. Just three years ago, company CEOs found the cloud very scary. But, “we’ve proven that e security around the cloud is very attractive.”
Time will only increase demand. There will be 50 times more data in 2020 than there is today, Koontz said, which is a huge issue for the CIO. “Securing the cloud is key but we’re also working with our clients.”
The ideal customer for GE to innovate with requires a focus on improving patient outcome. The most successful co-development relationships are really clear about their objective up front, he said, and are less research project but more joint business plans.
Held on Nov. 2 in Boston, the Digital Healthcare Innovation Summit, chaired by Robert Mittendorff, MD, MBA, of Norwest Venture Partners, and Bill Geary of Flare Capital, brought together leading innovators, investors, and industry executives to share their valuable insights on the future of healthcare.
Contributed by Beth Walsh