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Global Health Care Exchange stays domestic, grows to 50-plus

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The Global Health Care Exchange (GHX) isn't really global, but membership in the Web-based procurement service for the healthcare industry has grown to more than 50 U.S. suppliers. As it approaches a launch date in the fourth quarter, the Web site is

The Global Health Care Exchange (GHX) isn't really global, but membership in the Web-based procurement service for the healthcare industry has grown to more than 50 U.S. suppliers.

As it approaches a launch date in the fourth quarter, the Web site is gearing up to offer online ordering with customer-directed distribution, online inquiry about order status, online order confirmation, and product catalogs. Nine of the GHX companies are radiology-related.

As of last week, the number of participating suppliers had reached 51, while hospitals and other medical facilities numbered around 60, said Brent Ness, head of supplier market development.

Some of the new suppliers have not gone public with their GHX relationship, planning instead to make the announcement in concert with other corporate news, said marketing director Linda Cuyler.

The Global Health Care Exchange was formed in the spring by five of the largest healthcare suppliers: Johnson & Johnson, GE Medical Systems, Baxter International, Abbott Laboratories, and Medtronic (SCAN 4/12/00).

GHX's general manager, Mike Mahoney, was a sales and marketing general manager with GE Medical Systems before he left in May to join the exchange.

The launch will include the five health system beta sites GHX has used to test the concept of online ordering and procurement by hospitals and other facilities from a wide range of medical suppliers, Cuyler said.

"We've conducted the first live tests and are in the process of integrating the computer systems, etc., of the pilot sites," Cuyler said. "This go-round is just for the U.S. We're conducting negotiations in Europe as well as in Asia."

Non-U.S. versions of GHX would still be part of the same company, she said.

A competing venture, the New Health Exchange, is launching in suburban Minneapolis, but could not be reached for comment. New Health so far consists primarily of distributors, including AmeriSource, Cardinal Health, Fisher Scientific, and McKessonHBOC.

A third site, MedNeti, plans to go online as an electronic healthcare marketplace. n

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