GE Medical forms new subsidiary to link patient data across enterprise

September 6, 2000

GE Medical forms new subsidiary to link patient data across enterpriseIT firm plans to integrate multiple information systemsGE Medical Systems of Waukesha, WI, is joining the ranks of vendors rushing to provide a workable electronic

GE Medical forms new subsidiary to link patient data across enterprise

IT firm plans to integrate multiple information systems

GE Medical Systems of Waukesha, WI, is joining the ranks of vendors rushing to provide a workable electronic patient record. The firm has formed a subsidiary, GE Medical Systems Information Technologies (IT), that combines GE's various information technology subsidiaries into a unified division. IT will focus on end-to-end integration of information systems within the hospital environment, with a concentration on the individual patient as the unique information identifier.

"We hope to create one record for each patient as that person travels through treatment," said Greg Lucier, former vice president and general manager of GE Medical Global Services and now president and CEO of the new company. "This will be not just an integrated electronic patient record but also an archived record accessible through the Internet. We want to drive integration at the patient level, including imaging data."

According to Lucier, GE Medical has been building its information technology products through internal development and acquisitions for the past three years. The companies making up the new division are Lockheed Martin Medical Imaging Systems, Marquette Medical Systems, Mecon, Applicare, Innomed, Prucka Engineering, and Micro Medical Systems. Their specialties run the gamut from PACS to cardiology systems to workflow assessment services. The firm based its decision to reorganize in part on the financial pressures from the Balanced Budget Act of 1996 and the hospital system changes necessitated by the implementation of HIPAA.

"Generally, there is a need for more hospital investment in information systems," Lucier said. "Those systems have traditionally been a smaller part of a hospital budget."

IT's strategy is to change workflow at the front end and to combine data from disparate information systems into an enterprise-wide network—essentially providing a turnkey solution, Lucier said. The core diagnostic imaging products will be collection points, and IT will expand the PACS into radiology information systems and cardiology information systems.

"Cardiology systems and patient monitoring are merging more and more with information systems," he said.

Engineering teams from the IT divisions are creating common user interfaces and backbones for the various products. In coming weeks, the firm will announce an enterprise-wide building block approach, according to Lucier.

The new IT group already has combined revenue of $1 billion, one-seventh of the value of GEMedical. The ultimate goal is to establish GE's presence as an information technology firm, springboarding off its imaging systems expertise, and to accelerate its growth in the high-tech market. According to Lucier, the division will be run like a start-up company with the ability to rapidly deploy products and strategies to reflect changes in the marketplace.