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GE Commits Billions to Healthymagination

by John Moore | May 07, 2009

geMuch like its ecomagination marketing program that tapped into all things “Green” GE today hosted a special press event to announce its latest marketing schtick, Healthymagination wherein GE plans to invest some $6B into the healthcare space over the next 6 years.  Based on what was said in today’s conference and reviewing the various press material, Healthymagination comes across as low on vision, low on imagination but high on hype.

Some high points, hype and otherwise…

Press event occurred in Washington DC clearly signaling that GE has every intent of capitalizing on ARRA HIT funding.

GE established a Health Advisory Board recruiting two influential former Senators, Bill Frist and Tom Daschell.  That may help in landing some of that Stimulus funding.  But, where is Newt?

They intend to invest $3B over 6 years on healthcare innovation. Primary focus of research is to provide new products, HIT and otherwise that lower cost of care, encourage broader access and improve quality.

GE is emphasizing that they want to develop new products that bring care and access to rural and less developed parts of the world, basically extending what they have done with the portable ultrasound system developed in India.

GE’s financial arm will set aside $2B to help all those physicians and hospitals buy GE’s healthcare products.  Most of this money will likely go to providing bridge loans for providers to purchase GE’s Centricity EMR which the government will subsequently reimburse for once providers demonstrate “meaningful use.”

Healthymagination will not be limited to just GE Healthcare and Finance but will extend to other business lines including NBC Universal where they will bring a new show to MSNBC focusing strictly on health topics. Plan is to have some 5,000 health stories a year covering the whole gambit of healthcare issues from policy to technology to consumers.  Along with this initiative, GE will also be sponsoring research with the Cleveland Clinc looking at consumer engagement and adherence.

Announced that with Intemountain Healthcare and Mayo, GE has developed a new evidenced-based clinical decision support (CDS) tool (aren’t all CDSs “evidence-based”) which will be released in 2010. Likely a module that one can tack on to their Centricity EMR.

And the Low Points…

Nothing clear and demonstrable has been put forth as to what GE will do in healthcare that really is truly different, truly innovative.  Very, very little vision has been announced here on how GE intends to address some of the more challenging issues facing healthcare today (e.g. interoperability, apps that physicians willingly adopt regardless of reimbursement, early detection and prevention of disease, consumer-focused tech, etc.).  Nothing regarding mobile technology, nothing regarding consumer-driven technology and even the clinician technology that was discussed did not strike one as anything new.  Lots of hand waving.

GE mentioned that they will be doing more to promote health and wellness programs among their employees. OK, what does that mean?  Every company worth their salt, and plenty more that do not have made similar statements.  Rings incredibly shallow and certainly not a demonstration of “vision.”

The whole press event came across as a bunch of toothless tigers on stage mumbling the same old tired statements.  Literally almost fell out of my chair when during the consumer panel, the rep from General Mills talked about giving employees health risk assessments (HRAs) or Campbell Soup rep talking about lowering sodium in their tomato soup as great innovative ideas. That’s innovation?

Speaking of the Consumer Panel session, where was the consumer?  Not sure the CEO of United Health Group is representative of such, nor Dr. Cosgrove from Cleveland Clinic (though do admire their work), Dishman from Intel or the reps from Campbell Soup and General Mills.

Maybe there is more here than meets the eye, maybe there is something behind the curtain that GE chose not to show the audience that substantiates their claim that imagination is at work within GE and Healthymagination will break new ground.  Maybe, just maybe but based on what was displayed today, would not bet on it.

5 responses to “GE Commits Billions to Healthymagination”

  1. […] Healthymagination comes across as low on vision, low on imagination but high on hype.” Article John Moore, Chilmark Research, 7 May […]

  2. […] prices unless something is really wrong.  See doomsday clock, above.  (For more cynicism, see John Moore’s take on GE as […]

  3. […] prices unless something is really wrong.  See doomsday clock, above.  (For more cynicism, see John Moore's take on GE as […]

  4. […] unless something is really wrong.  See doomsday clock, above.  (For more cynicism, see John Moore's take on GE as […]

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