GE sees double-digit growth in healthcare IT market

CIOL Bureau
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SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA:  General Electric Co expects the global market for digitising healthcare systems to grow by double digit percentages in the coming years thanks to billions of dollars of government support, a senior executive said.

Vishal Wanchoo, President and CEO of healthcare information technology at GE Healthcare, said in an interview with Reuters that healthcare IT would play a key part in GE's $6 billion investment programme to cut healthcare costs, by improving efficiency in systems.

"Penetration of digital systems is extremely low in healthcare and really lags behind other industries," Wanchoo said.


"Compared to other parts of the healthcare industry, it is clearly receiving a lot of attention in terms of governments recognising it as underpenetrated. It will certainly be north of 10 percent growth in many markets," he said.

GE Healthcare, best known for big-ticket medical devices such as CT-scan and magnetic resonance imaging machines, also has businesses ranging from advising hospital management to systems using radio-frequency identification tags that help hospitals track equipment and patients.

Growth in the business combining medical care with IT is also set to benefit PC makers and network operators, Wanchoo said.


He was in South Korea for an agreement to set up a $41 million healthcare IT research facility with investment from GE and the government.

GE has been shifting from centre-focused global management to a national or regional model to grow in lower-income but faster-growing emerging markets.

Wanchoo said his business would aim to form one or two hubs per region where it would bring in GE Healthcare's core technologies for local adoption.


"There is certain aspect of IT which requires localisation," he said. "So the strategy of "in country, for country" development is a broad strategy for the company."

In the new South Korean R&D centre GE plans to develop and study e-health technology which will enable information exchange among hospitals and clinics to better manage patients, Wanchoo said.

He identified Japan, South Korea, Australia and Singapore as key Asian markets, while France and Germany were identified as attractive growth markets in Europe.