CHICAGO – GE Healthcare announced its Health Cloud at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting in December, a fitting venue, as the first applications it has for the new system revolve around diagnostic imaging.
Not only can DI departments store and share their images and reports in the Health Cloud – thereby enabling easier access to clinicians region-wide or even internationally – but they will be able to use the cloud’s incredible processing power, too.
That means DI departments constrained by limited computer resources will have no problem processing the most advanced reconstructions.
The Centricity Health Cloud will be officially launched in the second quarter of 2016. While the initial solutions available are for radiology, it will be open to all types of healthcare uses and applications.
What’s more, GE Healthcare is launching an ‘app store’ to accompany the Health Cloud, giving healthcare providers the ability to acquire leading-edge solutions to improve their performance and effectiveness.
“We’re aiming to have just 20 percent of the apps from GE, and the other 80 percent from others,” said Justin Steinman (pictured), GE Healthcare IT’s chief marketing officer.
Apps on the GE Health Cloud will be delivered on a subscription basis, enabling hospitals and health systems to shift computing expense to a variable cost model.
The first four apps for the Health Cloud, announced at RSNA, are:
• Centricity Cloud Advanced Visualization – This app will manage image post-processing and allow radiologists and clinicians to view advanced 3-D images anytime, anywhere.
• Centricity Multi-Disciplinary Team Virtual Meeting – This app will help multidisciplinary teams do collaborative care planning, ultimately helping radiologists and pathologists reduce the time they spend preparing for meetings by up to 20 percent.
• Centricity Case Exchange – This latest edition of Centricity Case Exchange will allow affiliated and non-affiliated systems to share images and reports and quickly confer on patient cases and treatment plans. “You can quickly get second opinions from colleagues,” said Steinman.
• Centricity Image Access Portal – This app will provide affiliated and non-affiliated physicians with longitudinal patient imaging data, potentially improving turnaround times for patient reports.
Of course, Canadian healthcare providers are hesitant to use cloud solutions that are hosted in the United States or other foreign countries. Steinman said GE is aware of that, and has a solution.
“As soon as we have a customer in Canada, we’ll set up a cloud there,” he asserted. “France and other countries have the same issue, and we’ll be doing the same thing in those countries.”
In Canada, use of the Health Cloud may happen soon. GE Healthcare has been in conversations about this with Humber River Regional Hospital, the new digital hospital in Toronto where GE is the managed equipment supplier.
Humber is also interested in establishing a centre of excellence that will co-develop leading-edge technological solutions in partnership with clinicians and vendors. The development of cloud solutions would likely be high on the list of potential projects.
GE Healthcare is already working with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center on the creation of apps.
“Building on our long partnership, UPMC and GE Healthcare are collaborating on cloud-based applications that promise to transform the delivery of healthcare as we know it,” said Rasu Shrestha, M.D., M.B.A., chief innovation officer for UPMC, in a GE press release. “These innovations will bring measurable changes that benefit patients and physicians.”