GE Healthcare to implement Centricity in Canada and sign partnership for health care technology development in Qatar

Barrington, Fairfield 16 March 2009GE Healthcare, a provider of information technology, has successfully implemented a Digital Imaging Repository (DI-r) that connects hospitals and medical centres throughout Southwestern Ontario (SWO) Canada. By providing clinicians a longitudinal patient view through GE's Centricity OneView, the project aligns with the Canada Health Infoway (CHI) and eHealth Ontario initiatives to create a pan-Province and, eventually, pan-Canadian Electronic Health Record (EHR). In addition, General Electric Company and Qatar Foundation have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to create a partnership covering a range of health care business and research initiatives. Building on GE's strong existing partnership with Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), Qatar Foundation's research accelerator, the parties plan to develop and deliver next-generation health care technologies and build local research and development capabilities aligned with regional and global health care needs.

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The complexity of the project in Canada is underscored by the number of vendors and their solutions, which includes five PACS vendors, three RIS vendors and five dictation vendors. Each of these areas feed images and information into the DI-r backed by GE Healthcare's technology. By combining GE's Centricity Enterprise Archive along with Centricity OneView, radiologists can access images and report on studies that originated in other facilities. Patients in the region will also benefit from a reduction in unnecessary transfers, in particular trauma patients who potentially need surgery. These cases can now be sent electronically for remote consultation prior to transport.

"Physicians in London, Ontario will be able to review and consult on images acquired in the Grey Bruce region, and physicians in the Grey Bruce region can access radiology studies acquired in the London region", stated Babette MacRae, Project Director, SWO. "This will provide the infrastructure to allow physicians to review and consult from any location, regardless of PACS vendor or site where that patient data originated. GE Healthcare provided the knowledge and expertise that allowed us to implement the DI-r with Centricity OneView as the anchor for a cohesive, longitudinal view of the patient jacket."

"GE can bring foreign PACS images into our DI-r product and enable them to be viewed", stated Mike Clarke, General Manager GE Healthcare IT Canada. "We are the first vendor in North America that will accomplish this complex integration, serving as a fabulous example of technology vendors working together to further technology solutions for health care."

"An important economic component is that GE offers a scalable solution that leverages existing systems and infrastructure, including a very robust Centricity PACS at several institutions", stated Stéphane Ouellet, Director of the Regional Shared Service, which was established to provide ongoing support for shared IT solutions such as Di-r in sites within Southwestern Ontario. "The DI-r is not just a clinical tool for sharing images, but it also provides a full disaster recovery and business continuance solution for any of the connected sites."

The SWO project was the first of four Ontario DI-r projects awarded to GE Healthcare. Currently, 12 medical facilities with a combined 160.000 exam per year are archiving into the DI-r and sharing images and another 16 sites with an annual volume of 935.000 exams are archiving into the DI-r. Once the project is complete and all hubs are on-line, the DI-r will span four Local Healthcare Integrated Networks (LHINs) and share nearly 3,2 million imaging exams each year.

Centricity Enterprise Archive delivers a scalable and flexible DICOM archive solution for fast and efficient storage and retrieval of medical images. Being driven by IHE standards, it integrates seamlessly into enterprise environments and supports a broad range of DICOM files and services, including radiology, cardiology and visible light images.

Centricity OneView is a web-based clinical information and work flow management engine that bridges the gap between disparate radiology systems, providing ubiquitous access to all clinical data regardless of the originating source of that data. This collection of data can then be leveraged to obtain a complete and comprehensive historical record of that patient's exams and images throughout the entire system.

Key elements of the GE/Qatar Foundation partnership include:

  • Healthcare Information Technology (HCIT) for the Middle East and Africa. GE Healthcare and Qatar Foundation will expand GE Healthcare's IT business in the Middle East and Africa through the creation of a joint venture headquartered at QSTP in Doha, Qatar. The joint venture will be the headquarters for GE's Healthcare IT business in the Middle East and Africa, developing health care IT solutions specifically adapted to meet local needs, as well providing marketing, sales and distribution services in partnership with GE Healthcare's existing infrastructure across the region.
  • In keeping with Qatar Foundation's commitment to advancing education and technology innovation, the new company will establish health care IT product development, training and education facilities at the GE Advanced Technology & Research Center (GE ATRC) at QSTP. Combining GE Healthcare's world-class offerings in health care IT with Qatar Foundation's local knowledge and expertise will enable the new company to accelerate the development of technologies such as electronic medical records and clinical enterprise solutions specifically tailored to the needs of the region. The company will be equally owned by GE Healthcare and the Qatar Foundation, and will have a goal of achieving more than $200 million of annual revenues in the next five to seven years.
  • Healthcare Technology Research and Development. GE Healthcare and Qatar Foundation will also establish a jointly funded research and development venture. Initially the venture will fund the acceleration and expansion of a number of GE Healthcare's existing R&D programmes, primarily in the fields of digital x-ray technology and molecular imaging. These R&D programmes will focus on the development of new products and technologies that meet the needs of health care providers both locally and globally. Ultimately, the joint venture intends to build local R&D capabilities at the GE ATRC in Doha. The joint venture will be equally owned by GE Healthcare and Qatar Foundation, with a projected budget in excess of $400 million over its first five years.

GE Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt stated: "The partnership is consistent with GE's vision of helping solve some of the world's toughest challenges and builds on our long-term relationships in the Middle East. It's a great business opportunity for GE in a growing market with a great partner. Combining GE Healthcare's global reach and strong health care offerings with Qatar Foundation's local expertise and commitment to technological investment will allow us to capitalize on significant opportunities in the region and to enable better health through the development of new technologies."

Highlighting the significance of the partnership, Chair of Qatar Foundation Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al Missned stated: "Through Qatar Science & Technology Park, we have an inspired and dynamic relationship with GE. Our work together to research and develop innovative solutions in medical technology is an essential element of Qatar's drive to create one of the most exciting clusters of scientific expertise in the world today."

Reinaldo Garcia, President and CEO of GE Healthcare EMEA, stated: "This partnership brings together two world-class organisations with a common vision for improving access to the very best in health care in Qatar and across the Middle East. Qatar Foundation is a leading investor in some of the region's most ambitious health care, education and technology research projects. We are delighted to be partnering with such a forward-looking organisation which has a deep commitment to healthcare research and education and is committed to the provision of clinical care of the highest international standards."

Dr. Tidu Maini, Executive Chairman of Qatar Science & Technology Park, stated: "First-class health care based on the latest medical technologies is a legacy that Qatar aims to leave for future generations. Our model is simple: work with the best partners to bring the best health technologies to our shores, and in the process learn how to innovate and develop solutions ourselves. Our partnership with GE Healthcare will dramatically accelerate our advance toward that ambitious goal."

Investment in health care is a key priority for the State of Qatar, with a budget of $2,9 billion allocated for Health in 2008/9. As well as significantly increasing the number of hospital beds and expanding associated facilities for diagnosis and treatment, the State of Qatar intends to implement a pioneering e-health programme across its hospitals and clinics nationwide. This e-health programme will include the introduction of an electronic health record (e-HR) for every citizen of Qatar, with the objective of improving quality of patient treatment while simultaneously reducing overall administration costs. It is anticipated that by 2011, 80 percent of clinicians in Qatar will have access to the e-HR.

GE and Qatar Foundation joined forces in 2005 when GE committed to investing $50 million in the GE ATRC at Qatar Science & Technology Park. The GE ATRC, which is due to open in October 2009, will be the regional R&D base for a number of GE businesses such as Aviation, Oil & Gas and Health Care. QSTP provides strategy and support for applied research by international partners that aligns with Qatar's national goals. The agreement with GE Healthcare coincides with the official inauguration of QSTP, which Jeff Immelt and other international leaders attended.

GE has grown significantly in the Middle East. In 2008, it had record revenues of $6,6 billion, an increase of 21 percent over 2007, with Qatar constituting more than $1 billion of that total. GE's presence in Qatar is well-established with almost 200 employees on the ground and major investment in other facilities includes a GE Oil & Gas Service Workshop in Ras Laffan and the upcoming ConocoPhillips & GE Global Water Sustainability Research Center in QSTP.

Founded in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa al Thani, Emir of Qatar, and chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned, Qatar Foundation is a private, non-profit organisation committed to the principle that a nation's greatest natural resource is its people. The headquarters of Qatar Foundation are located within its flagship project, Education City, a fourteen million square-meter campus which hosts numerous progressive learning institutions and centres of research, including branch campuses of five of the world's leading universities, plus a cutting-edge research and development centre. Qatar Foundation also works to enhance the quality of life in Qatar by investing in community health and development.

Qatar Science & Technology Park works to transform Qatar into a knowledge economy by attracting commercially-oriented research and development. Part of Qatar Foundation, founded by the Emir, QSTP is co-located with campuses of Carnegie Mellon, Texas A&M, Weill Cornell and other renowned universities. QSTP provides an environment for local and international companies to interact with the universities and develop new technologies. EADS, ExxonMobil, GE, Microsoft, Shell, Total and others have already committed $225 million of R&D investment at QSTP.

GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Its expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, performance improvement, drug discovery, and biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies is helping clinicians around the world re-imagine new ways to predict, diagnose, inform, treat and monitor disease, so patients can live their lives to the fullest.

GE Healthcare's broad range of products and services enable health care providers to better diagnose and treat cancer, heart disease, neurological diseases and other conditions earlier. The company's vision for the future is to enable a new "early health" model of care focused on earlier diagnosis, pre-symptomatic disease detection and disease prevention. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GE Healthcare is a $17 billion unit of General Electric Company. Worldwide, GE Healthcare employs more than 46.000 people committed to serving health care professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries. More company news can be found in the VMW March 2009 article The Mount Sinai Hospital and GE Healthcare collaborate to improve patient flow and asset management.


Source: GE Healthcare

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