GE Healthcare set to fuel its India’s growth in imaging technology, AI with strategic investments

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GE Healthcare is on an aggressive mode to step up its future growth in India with strategic investments for development of imaging technology, artificial intelligence (AI) embedded diagnostics and related therapies. It will capitalise on the talent capability and infrastructure for research and manufacture of medical technologies in the country. It is now working towards operating as a standalone company outside GE Group.

Of the 145 countries where GE is having operations, India is ranked among the top five markets. “Our future investments will be in the digital technology space focusing on AI and machine learning. This is a business of scale. We are looking to drive down cost and improve patient outcomes,” said Kieran Murphy, president, and CEO, GE Healthcare.

The US$ 20 billion company with a workforce of 50,000 has built its growth both through organic and inorganic routes. “India is key for our future growth prospects and we are looking at high productivity and faster time-to-market. The slew of public private partnerships (PPPs) with 200 installations of CT and MRIs across 20 states sees us position ourselves in precision diagnostics and monitoring. This would enable preventive healthcare that will save medical expenses,” stated Murphy who is in India for the two-day pulse: GE Healthcare Media event.

“We will combine expertise and leadership to serve the needs of healthcare providers, bio-pharma and medical tech companies. We are looking at developing smarter machines to enable data integration. The future of healthcare is a network of collaborations,” he added.

GE has now inked a pact with Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering and Research (SAMEER), the R&D unit under Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), for the development of an Indigenous 1.5T MRI system. The two companies will also collaborate to develop AI and machine learning based solutions.

“We have the know-how and our MRI technology is one of the most advanced and complex form of medical imaging. The SAMEER partnership is in sync with the Union government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and will support Ayushman Bharat to access our affordable MRI technology,” said GE Healthcare chief.

India has taken a lead in technology adoption and the Ayushman Bharat is expected to provide the much-needed non-contributory financial access to Indians compared to the US government’s Medicare, he noted.

According to Nalinikanth Gollagunta, president and CEO, GE Healthcare South Asia, Indian healthcare has an infrastructure matching the western world with 38 JCI accredited hospitals and 544 NABH certified facilities. The cost of treatment is at one-tenth versus that of the US. The price points of our healthcare and the success rate of outcomes have been recognised globally.

“There is frugal innovation by entrepreneurs which enabled create India’s technology infrastructure. We will now increase our focus on precision engineering, cloud computing and artificial intelligence to overcome challenges in healthcare. The investments will be towards localisation and digitization,” added Gollagunta.

GE Healthcare partnered with the Healthcare Sector Skills Council (HSSC) and has so far trained 2,500 students to ensure easy availability of skilled personnel. By 2019, it will train 5,000 community health workers and 3,000 underprivileged young people of which a large chunk will be women workforce entering the healthcare mainstream operating GE Healthcare medical equipment, said Marut Setia head, education business, GE Healthcare.

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