GE to invest $6b to lower healthcare costs
WASHINGTON - General Electric Co. will invest $6 billion over the next six years in an attempt to lower the cost of healthcare and improve the quality of medical care in underserved regions of the United States and abroad.
The program, unveiled yesterday, sets goals of reducing healthcare costs by 15 percent through $3 billion in spending on new, lower-cost medical technology.
The initiative also plans to broaden the use of tools such as electronic medical records and other medical information technology, with the hope of providing more advanced care to 100 million additional people each year.
That will include $2 billion in financing for rural healthcare systems in the United States to adopt medical IT systems. It will also include money for overseas projects such as the expansion of clinics in Cambodia and provide additional funding for maternal healthcare programs in Bangladesh.
GE said it will build on its current healthcare division, which sells about $18 billion worth of diagnostic equipment for hospitals and healthcare information technology annually. It has set an annual revenue target for the initiative, dubbed "healthymagination," of about two to three times the amount of US gross domestic product growth.
Fairfield, Conn.-based GE is one of the world's largest industrial companies, making products such as jet engines, household appliances, and light bulbs. It has struggled over the past year, as the recession and financial crisis have delivered sharp blows to GE's manufacturing businesses and its GE Capital finance arm.
The healthcare initiative deepens GE's focus on areas that it considers sources of growth. Four years ago, GE launched a similar project called "ecomagination," which includes work on cleaner energy projects such as wind turbines and more efficient electric grids.