GE Offers Stimulus Loans To Bolster E-Medical Records

GE also promises that its GE Centricity e-medical record products will be certified to meet evolving health IT standards.
Through a GE development relationship with Intermountain Healthcare, which operates several hospitals in Utah, GE has a couple of links to the government's HIT Policy Committee and HIT Standards Committee, which are federal advisory groups working on details, including the definition of "meaningful use" and product certification criteria with the Office of National Coordinator for Health IT.

Intermountain's CIO, Marc Probst, is a co-chair on the HIT Policy Committee's certification/adoption workgroup, and Intermountain's chief medical informatics officer, Dr. Stan Huff, is a member of the HIT Standards Committee.

GE is in the middle of a seven-year pact with Intermountain to develop the next-generation version of Centricity e-medical record software. Intermountain will begin rolling out the next major release of the jointly developed software for in-patients in the third quarter, while GE plans to make the software generally available in the first quarter of 2010, Probst said in a recent InformationWeek interview. The new Centricity offerings will include improved clinical decision support and terminology services.

Besides Intermountain, GE is also working with the Mayo Clinic in its ongoing Centricity development work, said Wanchoo.

"We have a simple warranty that GE products will meet certification requirements," said Wanchoo. However, customers meeting the "meaningful use" requirements to be eligible for the federal incentives ultimately will be the responsibility of healthcare providers, he said.

GE is allotting an initial $100 million to the Stimulus Simplicity loans, said Wanchoo. The new program is part of GE's "Healthy Imagination" initiative, a $6 billion investment GE recently announced, focused on improving access, quality, and affordability of healthcare. The breakdown of GE's Healthy Imagination investments include $3 billion for technology and R&D, $1 billion for content aimed at consumers, and $2 billion in finance programs like the new Stimulus Simplicity loans, said Wanchoo. GE Healthcare IT is one of several products businesses of the multibillion-dollar GE Healthcare unit, said Wanchoo. Other products under the GE Healthcare banner include life sciences, healthcare systems, medical imaging, and medical devices.

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