Article

Enabling the Intelligent, Connected, Digital Ecosystem for Healthcare

By Amit Phadnis, Chief Digital Officer, GE Healthcare

Why I joined the healthcare industry

Growing up in India, my parents wanted me to become a doctor. I chose engineering instead, which led me to a fulfilling career in networking and telecommunications. After 25 years in that space, I was ready for a new challenge.

What first attracted me to GE Healthcare was the sense of purpose and passion people have for this business – and the positive impact their work has on people’s lives. But the healthcare industry today faces many challenges: the growth and aging of global populations, escalating costs, growing complexity. Health systems are facing margin pressures and are looking to technology to help drive breakthroughs in patient outcomes, improve operational and clinical productivity, and find new areas of growth. It is also becoming abundantly clear that AI and analytics will be the game changers that will drive positive outcomes for patients as well as providers, caregivers and other stakeholders across the health ecosystem.

One significant asset that the health ecosystems has, is the availability of data because of the digitization of patient records, archival imaging data, digital pathology – as well as the availability of genomic and radionomic information. Adding to that is much of the information across the social spectrum and patient-centric information from connected devices and wearables. This multi-dimensional as well as multi-modality information within and outside of health systems needs to be aggregated in a way that lends itself to analytics and deep learning algorithms. These applications also need to be integrated seamlessly into existing workflows and care areas to provide real value to clinicians.

That’s why GE Healthcare is making significant investments aggregating data and in applying AI and analytics to healthcare data to uncover insights that improve patient outcomes, reduce waste and inefficiencies, and eliminate costly and harmful errors. We are also integrating these technologies into our leading imaging and monitoring equipment. Bringing together medical device and digital capabilities, the clinical and domain knowledge, combined with our deep relationships and long history in the healthcare industry, gives GE Healthcare a unique role to play in driving the future of health around the world.  

The data in health systems and in social domain, exists in disparate forms, in different locations and across different systems, leading to siloed and fragmented information. This makes it challenging to contextualize the patient longitudinal information as well as horizontal knowledge base within health systems, acquired over decades of work and bring it to bear at the point of care. They try to cobble together these systems, but our customers tell us they need a true partner to help them leverage data, software and analytics across their entire business, bringing together a connected, digital enterprise. We created Edison – GE Healthcare’s intelligence platform designed specifically for the needs of healthcare – in part to help solve these challenges and help our customers stitch together various digital technologies, data across the health systems and devices, to drive care area solutions.

GE Healthcare developers and our strategic partners use Edison to develop new healthcare applications, services and AI algorithms. Over the next few years, we expect the platform to become central to the healthcare ecosystem and an important hub for innovation with thousands of applications and healthcare services available. While there is no shortage of projections on what a healthier world looks like thanks to more precise, predictive, prescriptive, efficient and preventative care, we are already making tangible progress toward that vision.

For example, we launched Edison Datalogue, a new enterprise data management solution that connects data systems, devices, applications and clinicians to give health systems a more holistic view of their data, ultimately to help improve clinical and financial outcomes. Customers like the U.K.’s NCIMI National Consortium for Intelligent Medical Imaging use our vendor neutral archive, a key element of Edison Datalogue, to have a more complete picture of a patient’s imaging history.

With our clinical command centers, we give health systems the capability to anticipate, detect and mitigate risk in real time, complementing other performance improvement tools. Command centers are multi-purpose, scalable and evolve over time. Humber River Hospital in Toronto launched the world's first clinical analytic applications or “tiles” inside of a hospital command center to revolutionize the patient experience and bring a new standard of patient-centered quality healthcare.

In September, GE Healthcare received the first FDA clearance for Critical Care Suite, an AI-powered X-ray system used to analyze X-ray images to detect the potentially fatal condition pneumothorax, more commonly known as collapsed lung. The system flags any cases that need immediate attention, so clinicians can prioritize these patients and avoid any further health complications.

And today, we’re excited to expand our intelligent health ecosystem further with the launch of the Edison Developer Program designed to accelerate the adoption and impact of intelligent applications and developer services across health systems. This program expands the existing Edison ecosystem of leading researchers, technology providers and academic institutions who develop, manage, secure and distribute advanced applications, services and AI algorithms to drive real healthcare outcomes.

These are just a few examples of what data, analytics and AI is already enabling today – but it is just the beginning of what technology can deliver. While I never became a doctor, I did ultimately end up working in healthcare. The sense of purpose and the passion for patient care and outcomes are exactly as I had anticipated; I am glad that I made, what at that time appeared to be a very challenging decision. Our efforts are advancing intelligent health – using advanced device and digital technologies to drive better patient and clinical outcomes across care areas and enhancing the efficiency and productivity of healthcare systems around the world.

To learn more about GE Healthcare’s intelligent health ecosystem and launch of the Edison Developer Program, click here.