Healthcare is by far one of the most pressing and complex global issues. The world spends $4.5 trillion on healthcare annually, yet 2 billion people live without basic healthcare. Additionally, more than 100 million people fall into poverty each year because of healthcare expenses.
GE Healthcare plays an active role in the business of health, sustainably providing transformational technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Its expertise is developing new ways to predict, diagnose, inform and treat disease, so patients can live their lives to the full.
Whether it is ensuring that employees and their families have the means and support to adopt healthy lifestyles, developing technologies that bring diagnostics to remote or low-resource communities, campaigning for innovative approaches to difficult problems in health, or promoting healthy living to the general public, GE Healthcare’s people share a common purpose and commitment: We are “at work for a healthier world.”
Learn more about healthymagination.
GE Healthcare Introduces Corvix
GE Healthcare’s Corvix is a new data simulation tool that consolidates, visualizes and compares data to generate insights on public health and economic outcomes. It achieves this through an intuitive interface that enables scenario-based modeling that provides the critical information for easy decision-making. The model is an “agent based” model, which means it is able to respond to multiple variables, adapts to customer-driven inputs and to change, and allows for instant simulations and feedback. Corvix will assist public and private healthcare decision-makers to identify the resources that can maximize the positive economic and health results for the populations they serve, ultimately reducing overall costs in the process.
Corvix in India
Corvix has already been used to successfully replicate a virtual state that uses population demographics and dynamics of Andhra Pradesh, a region of India. The country is an example of a rapidly growing emerging market with substantial public/private healthcare development along with “Big Data” resources. GE Healthcare partnered with the Public Health Foundation of India on a project to develop a staffing and economic model studying Allied Health Workforce shortages and solutions.
Several data sources, including two Indian Government censuses and a socio-economic survey, were integrated. By analyzing and integrating this data, Corvix is able to simulate the expansion of India’s healthcare infrastructure, initially limited to cardiovascular disease (CVD) diagnosis and treatment, within a region. Cardiovascular disease is an increasing health issue in India and a priority for the Indian Ministry of Health—with 2.58 million Indians predicted to die from the disease each year by 2020.
Corvix was able to provide a visual of the hotspots, detailing the highest concentration of disease, which could then be overlapped over the existing or potential future healthcare infrastructure. Such visualizations allow healthcare scenarios over time to be compared, allowing for optimal future planning. In the future, there are plans to evaluate expanding the tool to cover other disease areas and adapting it for use in other markets outside India.
PROMOTING HEALTH AND HEALTHY LIVING
GE Healthcare’s commitment to health starts with promoting prevention, early detection and early diagnosis of disease. In parallel with GE’s global Healthymagination initiative, GE Healthcare campaigns around the world in specific disease areas and communities to promote better approaches to healthy living, whether at a personal level or at a public policy and general-population level.
FOCUSING ON MAJOR DISEASE ISSUES
Cancer is the leading cause of death in the world*, but at GE, we envision a day when cancer is no longer a deadly disease. Our commitment to cancer and it is reflected by our $1B investment to advance oncology solutions by 2016. Our Healthymagination commitment is another GE initiative aimed at accelerating cancer innovation and improving care for 10 million cancer patients around the world by 2020. Both investments are founded on GE’s integrated portfolio, which is uniquely positioned to drive game-changing impact in oncology and a leap forward for individualized cancer care.
MAKING AN IMPACT ON NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASE: MIND
GE Healthcare takes a comprehensive approach to understanding a variety of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson, post-traumatic stress disorder, concussion, traumatic brain injury and Multiple Sclerosis through its ongoing research to uncover the causes, risks and physical effects of these conditions. By collaborating with the pharmaceutical industry to assist in their development of the next generation of therapies to treat these disorders and working with potential partners in the industry, GE Healthcare can provide imaging support for clinical trials of therapeutic agents.
Is My Cancer Different
GE Healthcare has adopted its Clarient unit’s online patient resource, IsMyCancerDifferent, the first Web site to focus on educating cancer patients about molecular-level testing. Informative videos on the site answer patients’ questions about the importance of individualized treatment, and leading medical experts share insights on how molecular-level testing is changing the way in which cancer is treated.
GetFit challenges people globally to make healthy lifestyle choices, join a GetFit challenge and share it with friends via social media. In 2012, more than 700 participants from 55 countries generated about 5,500 GetFit Tweets.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that nearly 30% of all cancer deaths can be prevented, and research confirms that a healthy diet and regular exercise can help reduce the risk of cancer. GE Healthcare’s 6-week global social media campaign was designed to raise awareness of cancer prevention and healthy living by encouraging people to GetFit and to tweet daily about their health and fitness activities.
GIVING LIFE TWICE—PROMOTING UMBILICAL-CORD-BLOOD DONATION
Thousands around the world die every year from leukemia simply because they cannot get bone marrow transplants. The components of umbilical cord blood have the potential to fight, and even cure, a wide range of serious diseases, including certain cancers and blood disorders. Unfortunately, the umbilical cord and the lifesaving blood inside it are commonly discarded as waste after babies are born, and there are simply not enough publically donated cord blood samples to meet demand.
GE Healthcare’s Make Your Baby Proud campaign encourages people in the U.S. and the U.K. who do not plan on “banking” their babies’ cord blood privately, to consider donating it to charitable trusts or public cord-blood banks. These banks process and store cord blood so it can be used to help people anywhere in the world who need a transplant but who do not have a matched bone-marrow donor.
PROMOTING POLICIES FOR MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS
Nearly half of all workplace absences and 60% of permanent work incapacities in the EU are caused by musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), and more than a quarter of the EU’s working population reports work-related back pain.
GE Healthcare’s work with the Fit for Work Europe Coalition, supported by an ongoing grant from AbbVie and a supporting grant from GE Healthcare, brings together patients, physicians, policy makers and others who believe in the importance of early detection, prevention and management of MSDs in the workplace.
The organization’s goal is to raise awareness through evidence-based research and recommendations for addressing the burden of MSDs throughout Europe. The Fit for Work Europe Coalition is dedicated to advancing policies and clinical practices that alleviate suffering and enhance the lives of those living with musculoskeletal disorders.
The greening of healthcare
At GE Healthcare, we recognize that being a sustainability leader is more than creating products that provide environmental and operating benefits for our customers. GE’s ecomagination is also about our commitment to using our limited resources efficiently across the entire life cycle of products, from research and development through manufacturing, disposal and recycling.
Whether it is renewable-resource initiatives such as solar power and heating at facilities; green power purchasing, and water and waste reduction; our capabilities for refurbishing and recycling used equipment in an environmentally responsible way; or the energy-saving modes in new scanners that reduce electricity consumption and hence CO2 emissions; our ecomagination commitments benefit the communities that we and our customers collectively serve.
Environmental efficiency is a key consideration in GE Healthcare’s product development. GE Healthcare has 33 products that are ecomagination-qualified, which offer compelling environmental and operating benefits to our customers. For example, we’ve developed high-efficiency MR systems that utilize 34% less energy than the previous generation GE systems they replace, and anesthesia systems that help reduce usage of the anesthetic gas that contributes to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
GE Healthcare also developed a polymer bottle for contrast media that brings environmental benefits to customers’ imaging departments. By switching from glass packaging to a polymer bottle, a radiology department can reduce its waste-disposal costs.
In its Life Sciences division, GE Healthcare is bringing environmental improvements to bioprocessing. Through the substitution of disposable bags for large stainless-steel tanks, its single-use bioreactor systems eliminate the cleaning and steam sterilization of the tanks in vaccine and other biotherapeutics production. This reduces water and energy consumption, and also eliminates the need for ultra-purified water, which is used to sterilize conventional stainless-steel bioreactors.
Product innovation is only the beginning: Our environmental stewardship extends across the entire life cycle. Our Renewable Resources facility, an ISO14001-certified facility, takes back medical devices and used equipment and processes them properly. GE Healthcare refurbishes 5 million kilograms of medical equipment and parts annually, with over 94% of the material reused or recycled.
Sustainability is also a core component of how GE Healthcare develops its operations. In addition to using recycled material for packaging, GE Healthcare is now implementing reusable shipping containers and packaging for delivery of medical equipment, as well as minimizing the packaging required for shipping its products.
GE Healthcare’s Life Sciences business, for example, has reduced its carbon emissions globally by 11%, including those at its commercial sales, service and manufacturing site based in Piscataway, New Jersey, where it reduced its total energy usage by 47%, its water usage by 13% and its waste generation by 50%.
At work supporting economic growth and development goals
Delivering sustainable solutions through which healthcare providers can reach more people is what GE’s healthymagination strategy is all about. Better health also helps sustain economic growth, as a healthy population can contribute better to a country’s economy than one whose health needs are underserved.
Early diagnosis makes better economic sense
The economic importance of early diagnosis in healthcare is a key concept for GE Healthcare, from a business perspective and, critically, from an economic perspective for health systems around the world. GE Healthcare campaigned for health systems to focus on removing barriers to early diagnosis, not only because it is better for patients, but also because it makes better economic sense.
Getting health back on track after natural disasters
Earthquake in China
On the morning of Saturday April 20, 2013, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Lushan County, near the city of Ya’an in the southwestern province of Sichuan, China, close to where a devastating 7.9 quake hit in May 2008. The death toll from the April 20 earthquake exceeded 200, with thousands seriously injured. Additionally, more than 1.5 million had severe damage to their homes or communities.
When disaster strikes, GE’s first priority is the safety and security of employees. GE China immediately responded to the news and has confirmed the safety of all GE employees and family members in the area. Although damaged roads, boulders and landslides in this hilly region of China hampered rescue and relief efforts, GE Healthcare China has provided a wide range of medical equipment. Additionally, several GE Healthcare employees are headed to the site of the disaster to show medical practitioners how to use the donated equipment,which we expect will be put to immediate use.
On October 29, 2012, Hoboken University Medical Center in Hoboken, New Jersey, was hit by Hurricane Sandy and had extensive water damage to much of their equipment needed to run the hospital. There was no medical care available to people in the city of Hoboken. GE Healthcare sales and service employees worked very hard and quickly to get the equipment installed and running in order to help patients.
Hoboken University Medical Center was certainly not the only hospital to be affected by Hurricane Sandy. The GE Healthcare disaster-response team ran a 250-bed field hospital in a gym at York College in Queens, New York, because both a nursing home and an adult medical home had been flooded. Service teams in New York City assisted Bellevue Hospital in evacuating and transferring patients and equipment to nearby Mt. Sinai facilities. Proactive visits were made before bridges were closed to general traffic to ensure all customer needs were covered. Service teams in New Jersey, specifically the Jersey Shore, did an outstanding job supporting customers. On-site coverage at the five Meridian sites, JFK and Virtua was key to supporting our customers during the storm. The teams not only confirmed the sites were covered at all times, but they responded to customer requests to ensure staff and patients were cared for and safe. A number of patients missed their dialysis because of the storm, and GE Healthcare’s Vscan, a portable ultrasound machine, made a better evaluation of fluid status possible so that physicians knew they could wait another day before treating them. Several others had cardiac function verified with Vscan. Many more employees worked behind the scenes to provide emergency support and to ready the teams for the imminent clean up recovery.
Technology for mother and baby health in Africa and Asia
Infant mortality is now the leading cause of death for children in low-income countries, but treatment efforts often are compromised as a result of equipment failure, lack of funding and expensive consumables and low staff skill levels.
Tanzania faces stiff challenges in its efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on child and maternal health. Many maternal and infant deaths can be prevented, and GE is partnered with Ifakara Health Institute (IHI), an eminent nonprofit health research organization, hosting a research study to test technological innovations that could help improve maternal and infant survival rates in Tanzania.
To develop a sustainable partnership specific to Tanzania, the goal of the joint project is to determine whether trained mid-level providers can correctly diagnose maternal patients using ultrasound. This Tanzania-based study will measure the impact and cost-effectiveness of using innovative technologies in rural settings.
GE Healthcare also formed a partnership with the East Meets West Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health outcomes for children in Asia. This joint effort will not only distribute baby warmers, incubators and phototherapy equipment through East Meets West’s Breath of Life program, but it will also provide support for GE engineers to help improve the technology, design and manufacturing of durable, low-cost, easy-to-use equipment that helps reduce neonatal mortality and morbidity in developing nations.
Diversity in the supply chain
GE Healthcare’s Supplier Diversity Program works with minority-, veteran- and women-owned small businesses to support their growth and the economies of the communities in which they operate by actively promoting supplier diversity in its supply chain. The Company views this as good business, as well as good citizenship, as supplier diversity helps support jobs and provides a stronger economic footing for communities and their healthcare systems.
Supporting gender balance in engineering
In 2009, women accounted for only about 10% of all U.S. civil engineers, 8% of all electrical engineers and 10% of all aerospace engineers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. To attract more girls to these engineering roles, for the second consecutive year, GE Healthcare volunteers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, are leading “Girls in Engineering,” a weeklong program aimed at increasing girls’ interest and future career pursuits in science, technology, math and engineering (STEM).