At the end of 2009 GE Healthcare launched a new global business unit chartered at providing advanced eHealth solutions and services to healthcare providers, health insurances and governmental agencies. These solutions aim to simplify the collection and exchange of data among a large variety of legacy clinical systems, including imaging products – radiology information system/picture archiving and communication system (RIS/PACS), hospital information systems (HIS), electronic medical records (EMR), laboratories, pharmacies and other devices involved in diagnostic or patient monitoring.

By facilitating the access to complete patient data across multiple locations and systems, eHealth solutions provide a step further towards evidence-based medicine, which will result in enhanced quality of care, improved productivity and reduction of costs and medical errors.

All of GE Healthcare’s connectivity technologies rely on full implementations of the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) international standards such as cross enterprise document sharing (XDS), DICOM and HL7, in order to collect and aggregate patient data produced by various sources, often constituted of legacy heterogeneous products. Once consolidated as health records in a global repository, clinical data can be Web-accessed by either physicians or patients, under strict security and privacy mechanisms. Care and disease management products are also available to analyze the efficiency of care pathways for chronically ill populations and to remotely monitor patient health.

“The main goal of our eHealth strategy is to improve quality and access in healthcare while reducing costs. We are actively countering some of the most urgent challenges in modern care. Among those are disparate IT systems across healthcare institutions and a missing framework to connect care providers and their patients,” emphasized Juergen Reyinger, vice president and general manager at GE Healthcare IT for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

In order to further develop its eHealth expertise beyond imaging solutions, GE Healthcare has recently concluded a global partnership with the acknowledged eHealth expert ICW, headquartered in Germany. In addition to telemedicine and network solutions, ICW has been concentrating for many years on patient identification and health record management products.

“The partnership with GE Healthcare is crucially important to ICW’s future corporate growth,” said Peter Kirschbauer, chief executive officer of ICW. “The centerpiece of our joint development and sales effort is an application for the centralized management and distribution of medical documents. This application enables doctors from different institutions to access data centrally that pertains to patients in whose joint treatment they are involved.”

“By leveraging the partnership with ICW, our eHealth portfolio enables the timely access and interpretation of clinical data and images throughout the continuum of care,” explained Bernard Algayres, general manager eHealth at GE Healthcare IT EMEA. “With eHealth, we are 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,” Algayres concluded.