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Discussing health IT with GE Healthcare CEO, John Flannery

by Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief | February 22, 2017
Business Affairs Health IT

A lot of our software engineering research is around making the scanner image acquisition itself more automated, using AI to, maybe, position the patient differently. So there’s a lot of software development on the actual device.

I think you have to start looking at these things as a broader ecosystem, which is, could I have sophisticated scanners on a very distributed basis moving images up to the cloud? Can I process them on the cloud? Where do the reports go? You have to start looking at this whole environment together — how the equipment, the cloud, the customer, the end user and the patient will all connect.

HCB News: That ties in with the notion of these industry events sort of merging into something more singular.

JF: I think we’ll look back in a short period of time and say, “I really can’t believe that’s how we did this.” Especially on the clinical side, where people are still looking at images in a dark room and trying to determine a diagnosis.

I think we’re really at a massive inflection point and I’ve seen that in the two years that I’ve been in the business, how fast it is changing.

HCB News: What are the areas where software still has the biggest unmet potential?

JF:We are just scratching the surface of what it can mean on clinical diagnosis. Automation of reading, improving the accuracy of reading, speed, cost, the ability to provide remote access to radiology. We have lots of activities in emerging markets where they just don’t have the infrastructure for radiology.

When it comes to mobility and collaboration, I’d say we’re a little more advanced and gaining traction. That’s another area that we see evolving quickly – the ability to move images around and read them on your laptop, at home on your iPad, the ability to convene a tumor board virtually, versus having all the clinicians in the same physical place, the ability to take a scan in Seattle and shoot it to your friend in Boston to get input...

A third thing I'll mention is that there’s been big development of software on the operational side of the business (EHR, EMR) but the general consensus has been, "Great, we needed to digitize and not have paper, we needed the ability to consume information from different sources, but we haven’t turned it into a productivity tool" — that’s the next generation that we're seeing now with solutions like DenialsIQ. We're taking the inert digital input and turning it into productivity, improving departmental workflow, improving billing, and so on.

HCB News: Looking ahead to the next few months, can you clue us in on anything we can we expect to hear from GE Healthcare?

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