GE Healthcare launches eHealth business and continues advancement of nuclear medicine

Barcelona, Barrington 29 October 2009GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric Company, has launched Discovery NM/CT 670, a hybrid imaging platform designed to improve work flow, dose management, and overall image quality, in Europe. The company has also launched eHealth, a new business unit offering enhanced connectivity to clinicians and patients designed with data privacy and security features to enable health information sharing that can help increase efficiency, reduce error and improve health outcomes.


The Discovery NM/CT 670 system combines GE Healthcare's state of the art BrightSpeed Elite16 slice CT, a newly designed SPECT gantry for greater positional flexibility, and the latest advancements in Nuclear Medicine detectors.

"We have a history of innovation in Nuclear Medicine, including introducing the world's first SPECT/CT nearly ten years ago", stated Nathan Hermony, general manager of GE Healthcare's Nuclear Medicine business. "With the Discovery NM/CT 670, we are providing clinicians the ability to discover and explore new capabilities while continuing to perform advanced hybrid and standalone CT procedures."

The Discovery NM/CT 670 platform incorporates flexible and proven work flow technology advancements from ten years of Infinia Hawkeye innovations and installations with a modular gantry, designed to embrace tomorrow's technology today. The BrightSpeed Elite, providing proven multi-slice CT performance, completes the academic system.

"With the combination of advanced CT and SPECT technology available on the Discovery NM/CT 670, we will be able to optimize both our SPECT and standalone CT protocols", stated Professor Ora Israel from Rambam Medical Center, Israel. "In addition, the innovative technology has the ability to improve localization and overall clinical confidence in routine scans and research applications."

The Discovery NM/CT 670 also has the capability to shorten acquisition times, improve dose management, and enable more convenient patient scheduling in comparison to separate, conventional SPECT and CT exams. "We understand that a clinician does not want to compromise", stated Nathan Hermony. "We are providing the latest in SPECT and CT technology so clinicians can explore new dimensions of disease and provide the best possible treatment and monitoring of the patient."

Keeping the patient in mind, the revolutionary system can reduce scan time dramatically. Bone imaging protocols, including planar whole body, 3D SPECT and CT attenuation correction/localization, are amongst the most frequently performed Nuclear Medicine procedures. With conventional nuclear hybrid imaging, a traditional bone imaging protocol can take up to 55 minutes. With the Discovery NM/CT 670, the imaging time is reduced to as little as 16 minutes. This reduction in time can be less painful, and possibly reduce patient movement due to the pain or uncomfortable positioning, minimizing artifacts in the scan. A shorter, more comfortable scan also has the potential to improve image quality, allowing clinicians to be more confident in their diagnosis.

The Discovery NM/CT 670 is 510(k) pending at FDA. It is not available for sale in the United States.

A part of GE's healthymagination initiative to improve quality and access while reducing cost, the eHealth business tackles one of health care's most pressing problems - fragmented clinical information trapped in disparate IT systems across multiple institutions, without the common framework to connect to other care providers and their patients.

"Connecting health care systems is challenging", stated Dr. Brandon Savage, chief medical officer of GE Healthcare IT. "Wide variations in clinical terminology, patient identification methods and systems architecture makes integrating health information exceptionally difficult. Turning that information into value for the care provider is a second, even more challenging hurdle, requiring deep understanding of care provider requirements and clinical work flows."

The eHealth suite of solutions enables the secure sharing of health information that can help lead to improved care by equipping providers with timely patient data, help reduce costs by eliminating redundant procedures, and empowering consumers to make more informed health decisions by providing health histories and wellness services. By providing infrastructure and clinical support services that support physicians, GE is helping to improve the communication of health information, and helping to reduce life-threatening medical errors, twenty percent of which currently occur due to the lack of immediate access to patient health information.

"eHealth provides the next level of connectivity", stated Jim Younkin, IT Programme Director, Geisinger Health System and Project Director, Keystone Health Information Exchange (KeyHIE). KeyHIE utilizes GE technologies to serve 31 counties in central and northeastern Pennsylvania. "More than 345.000 patients have registered for our exchange and those patients have given their health care providers at eight hospitals and other regional health facilities timely access to relevant information through a secure connection", noted Jim Younkin. "This, in turn, helps ensure these patients receive optimal care."

GE's eHealth business is delivering value to clinicians and patients in four fundamental ways:

  • Patient Health Records: As consumers are increasingly engaged in their health care decisions, secure and reliable access to medical histories is critical. LifeSensor patient health record provides a web-based system designed with privacy and security features that allow consumers to access their health histories and to collaborate with care providers. With LifeSensor, consumers can now better understand and direct their own health and wellness plans and leverage the LifeSensor tools for managing chronic disease, nutrition and fitness to help promote lifelong well-being. LifeSensor patient health record is the result of seven years of development by GE's strategic partner InterComponentWare (ICW) and integrates with GE's Centricity HIE solutions.
  • Health Information Sharing: The heart of the eHealth business, GE's standards-based Centricity Health Information Exchange (HIE) infrastructure helps enable clinical data from disparate information systems, including medication history, laboratory results, radiology images and referrals to be shared between clinicians in a secure and private manner, helping physicians gain a more complete picture of a patient's medical history. Today, GE's Centricity HIE solutions are helping states, Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIOs) and health care systems aggregate data across information silos.
  • Structured Clinician Views: Information is only valuable if it is organized, accurate and logically conveyed. Leveraging a deep understanding of caregiver requirements and work flows, the eHealth Clinical Portal structures and displays information so that it is clear, understandable and useful to the caregiver.
  • Robust Patient Identification and Matching: It is essential that physicians and patients trust that clinical information is matched with the right patient. GE's Master Patient Index (MPI) technology provides a comprehensive solution for matching patient records from diverse organisations. This technology helps to ensure that information is accurately matched, and is designed to maintain patient privacy.

"With eHealth, we're working to develop standards-based infrastructure, a ground-breaking suite of collaborative services and clinical decision support tools that will empower providers and patients as never before", stated Earl Jones, recently named vice president and general manager, GE Healthcare eHealth. "Integrating disparate data into a single, accurate clinical picture, turning this integrated clinical picture into insight, and making that insight available to caregivers across offices and institutions in real-time will transform the way health care is delivered."

GE eHealth solutions are driving value for customers today by providing customers collaborative charting across institutions, patient medication histories, and centralized services such as physician referral, and laboratory, radiology and image information exchange.

eHealth Business Leader Earl Jones joined GE Healthcare IT earlier this month from GE Water & Process Technologies, where he served as Global Commercial Leader, leading global sales and partnership activities. Prior to this role, Earl Jones served in GE's Corporate Initiatives Group where he led Lean Six Sigma for supply-chain and manufacturing. Earl Jones also served with distinction as a submarine officer in the United States Navy.

GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Its broad expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services help its customers to deliver better care to more people around the world at a lower cost. In addition, the company partners with health care experts, striving to leverage the global policy change necessary to implement a successful shift to sustainable health care systems.

The company's "healthymagination" vision for the future invites the world to join GE Healthcare on its journey as it continuously develops innovations focused on reducing costs, increasing access and improving quality and efficiency around the world. 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 is available in the VMW August 2009 article GE Healthcare to grow its health information exchange services by joining global eHealth expert.

Source: GE Healthcare

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