GE Healthcare plans on pouring $2 billion into analytics-software development over the next five years.
“We’re shifting to using one common software platform across all GE Healthcare current and future products and services,” Evren Eryurek, GE Healthcare Software Chief Technology Officer, wrote in a June 11 posting on the GE Healthcare Website. “The goal would be for all the applications we build across the business then to leverage this platform for greater efficiency and consistency.”
The conglomerate’s healthcare customers have reportedly complained for years about heterogeneous IT environments, broken workflows for data analysis, little interoperability between various firms’ software platforms, and poor user experience. “Investments GE Healthcare is making will address those challenges and enable our customers to improve their operations, asset management, and workflow effectiveness,” Eryurek added, “as well as to deliver consistent care especially to large patient populations.”
In theory, improved analytics software would help save a few billions of dollars off the global cost of healthcare inefficiency. As part of the development process, GE Healthcare will collaborate with the GE Software Center of Excellence in California, a facility set up expressly to research data analytics.
GE Healthcare’s investment fits into GE’s larger plans for a so-called “Industrial Internet,” in which analytics platforms and sensors are used to make industries more self-aware and efficient. In April, the company announced it was investing $105 million in Pivotal, an offshoot of EMC’s VMware subsidiary that focuses on analytics (the GE Software Center of Excellence has access to Pivotal’s analytics and cloud-architecture software).
But GE faces significant competition for control of the “industrial internet.” IBM just introduced nine Power Systems solutions for healthcare, retail, and “general industry,” with each offering everything from predictive analytics packages to optimization tools. Other tech firms also have an interest in improving their respective clients’ bottom lines via analytics and sensors. In addition to that, any company working on software for the healthcare industry will have to contend with the latter’s reluctance to embrace next-generation tools such as electronic health records.
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