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Research & development

GE to spend $6 billion on  healthcare R&D

TORONTO – At a time when many industries are cutting back on their investments, General Electric Co. announced that it will commit US$6 billion over the next six years to develop new healthcare technologies and processes. The goal is to dramatically improve the delivery of healthcare around the world.

GE CEO & Chairman Jeffrey R. Immelt announced the initiative in Washington, D.C. to an audience of policymakers and thought leaders. In Toronto, one of five cities selected for the global kick off, GE Canada President & CEO Elyse Allan (pictured on left) and GE Healthcare Canada General Manager Peter Robertson (pictured on right) provided an overview of healthymagination, a new global multibillion dollar business strategy for sustainable healthcare.

GE’s healthymagination is a three-pronged approach to make measurable improvements in global healthcare systems by 2015. GE’s commitments include:

• Reduce by 15 percent the cost of procedures and processes with GE technologies and services.

• Increase by 15 percent people’s access to services and technologies essential for health, reaching 100 million more people every year.

• Improve quality and efficiency by 15 percent for customers through simplifying and refining health care procedures and standards of care.

GE will invest US$6 billion over six years to develop and manufacture more low-cost solutions for Canada and the world. This investment includes a $3 billion investment for 100 innovations that lower cost, increase access and improve quality; $2 billion to finance IT and access in rural & underserved areas; $1 billion for partnerships, content and services.

“Innovation and technology are critical to solving big challenges like those we face in healthcare access, cost and quality,” said Elyse Allan. “Healthymagination allows us to apply our scale and innovation, in collaboration with our partners, towards sustainable healthcare in Canada and around the world.”

Peter Robertson noted that GE units around the globe will be pitching corporate headquarters on innovative projects in a bid to obtain funding. He said Canada has many potential opportunities as a great deal of innovation is going on across the country.

“We’re working with the idea of a meritocracy, and funding will be based on the merits of the science,” said Robertson. “The good news for Canada is that we’re well positioned, with many advanced projects.”

However, Robertson pointed out that innovation won’t only take the form of the most scientifically advanced and expensive projects. “Maybe what’s also needed is a low-cost MRI, for example, so that millions of people around the globe have better access to care,” he said. “There may be paradigm shifts going on.”

GE will work with partners to address four critical healthcare needs to start: low-cost technology; healthcare IT; innovation for all; and consumer-driven healthcare.

Oxford Analytica, an independent, Oxford-based international research and consultancy firm, will monitor and report annually on GE’s progress throughout this initiative.

Healthymagination in Canada

Examples of GE partnerships in Canada addressing cost, access and quality include:

• Diagnostic Imaging Access. At the Canadian announcement in Toronto, GE Healthcare announced an agreement with the Pan Northern Ontario PACS Project (PNOP) to create a Diagnostic Imaging Repository (DI-r) which will assist physicians access images and reports from other facilities, helping to improve diagnostic time lines, and increasing patient care regardless of location

• Baffin Island cardiac program. The University of Ottawa Heart Institute in cooperation with the Ontario Health Services Institute provides cardiac check-ups and treatment in Iqualuit. Patients avoid costly travel to southern unfamiliar urban centres for health care. The project is made possible, in part, by the GE Vivid i cardiovascular ultrasound system. This portable and wireless design weighs 30 times less than other full-featured, larger-scale systems, and makes it possible for patients to receive exams almost anywhere.

• Tomography in Digital Radiography - Bonnyville Health Centre, Alberta. GE’s VolumeRAD digital radiography technology is providing healthcare practitioners in this community with an important tool to manage care locally, avoiding patient transport for critical injuries including head and neck. “Managing costs, while increasing quality and access, can be done – if government, health care agencies and institutions, businesses, academic bodies, patient interest groups, all of us, collaborate,” said Peter Robertson at the event. “GE and GE Healthcare is committed to developing new, high-tech, but low-cost, technologies to ensure Canadians can access cutting edge healthcare in a more sustainable way.”

About GE

GE (NYSE: GE) is a diversified infrastructure, finance and media company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. From aircraft engines and power generation to financial services, medical imaging, and television programming, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide. In Canada, GE has more than 9,000 employees across the country. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at

About GE Healthcare

GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our broad expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services help our customers to deliver better care to more people around the world at a lower cost. In addition, we partner with healthcare leaders, striving to leverage the global policy change necessary to implement a successful shift to sustainable healthcare systems. Our “healthymagination” vision for the future invites the world to join us on our journey as we continuously develop innovations focused on reducing costs, increasing access and improving quality and efficiency around the world. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GE Healthcare is a $17 billion unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE). Worldwide, GE Healthcare employs more than 46,000 people committed to serving healthcare professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries. In Canada, GE has more than 700 employees across the country. For more information about GE Healthcare, visit our website at