General Electric says it will invest $2 billion over the next five years to build software aimed at harnessing the growing influx of digital data in order to improve efficiency and clinical processes in the health care industry.
The investment is designed to advance what GE Healthcare already offers. And while, GE's investment will be focused on the productivity challenges faced by health care organizations "around the world," the software could be particularly timely for U.S. facilities.
Hospitals are spending millions of dollars to upgrade their IT systems and implement electronic medical record systems in order to meet new federal guidelines mandated by the Affordable Care Act. Under the federal mandate, health providers will receive incentives to switch from paper-based to electronic systems. Those providers face penalties if they haven't made the switch by 2015.
At the same time, hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities are faced with a growing mountain of data. Software that can not only collect that data, but manage it and provide valuable analysis can greatly improve a facility's efficiency, by streamlining operations and providing better, faster care.
For example, GE's software will focus on improvements to scheduling, data entry and asset management, which should result in caring for more patients. The software will also aim to reduce costs (always a biggie in the health care industry) by optimizing workflow in how care is delivered, minimizing payment cycles, eliminating unnecessary waste and maximizing reimbursement rates.
GE's $2 billion health-focused software investment is in line with the company's so-called industrial Internet strategy, the integration of machinery with connected sensors and software to deliver big data to people in real time. GE has invested $1 billion into development of industrial Internet applications, including $105 million into Pivotal, an EMC and VMware spin-off company that plans to bring together big data, application programming and the cloud to reinvent Enterprise Platform-as-a-Service.
GE views the Industrial Internet as an opportunity to increase both productivity and revenue. A GE report released in November 2012 found all of the major industries, such as aviation, power, rail, health care and oil & gas, can save more than $270 billion over the next 15 years by improving their efficiency by one percent.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com