New GE eHealth Business Connects Patients, Hospitals, Doctors

Oct. 31, 2009

BARRINGTON, Ill., Oct 29, 2009 – GE Healthcare today announced the launch of 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.  A part of GE’s healthymagination initiative to improve quality and access while reducing cost, the eHealth business tackles one of healthcare’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 healthcare systems is challenging,” said 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 workflows.”

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 information1.

“eHealth provides the next level of connectivity,” said Jim Younkin, IT Program 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 healthcare providers at eight hospitals and other regional health facilities timely access to relevant information through a secure connection,” noted Younkin.  “This, in turn, helps ensure these patients receive optimal care.”

GEs eHealth business is delivering value to clinicians and patients in four fundamental ways:

· Patient Health Records – As consumers are increasingly engaged in their healthcare 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 GEs 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 healthcare 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 workflows, 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 organizations. 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,” said 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 healthcare 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, Jones served in GE’s Corporate Initiatives Group where he led Lean Six Sigma for supply-chain and manufacturing. Jones also served with distinction as a submarine officer in the US Navy.