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How GE's health cloud will transform the healthcare sector

GE's new cloud software will be able to sort terabytes of raw data from a CT scanner into a full picture of the brain in about five minutes.
A normal computer takes about six hours to process information from a CT scanner, but the preferred treatment window lasts only about 3-4 hours.

In an attempt to help doctors move faster, GE Healthcare IT is now developing a cloud-based app that will make data gathering, software and analytics the core of GE’s transformation to the world’s largest digital industrial company.

The software will be able to sort terabytes of raw data from a CT scanner into a full picture of the brain in about five minutes. A normal computer takes about six hours to process information from a CT scanner, but the preferred treatment window lasts only about 3-4 hours.

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“Speed is one of the most important elements of treating stroke,” said president and CEO of GE Healthcare Jan De Witte. “If doctors can intervene quickly, they can often help patients escape serious damage to the brain.

Since the data will be stored in a cloud, it will be accessible to experienced clinicians in stroke centers. There, they will be able to read patient scans from remote hospitals, discuss treatments online and make recommendations to their colleagues.

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“Using the massive computing power of the cloud, we’re able to assemble complex images in 3D, manipulate them and generate little movies that show the blood flow through the brain and show doctors where the blockage is sitting,” said De Witte.

The health cloud is designed to be an ecosystem connecting software, hardware and medical devices. It intends to host data and also help doctors and clinicians collaborate and compare notes and insights as easily as using a social media platform.

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The amount of data from healthcare devices is expected to increase 50 times by 2020, and the new cloud will begin by connecting over 500,000 GE imaging machines. By the end of the decade, GE intends to move all of its medical software into the cloud.

“The industry is moving from healthcare that’s driven by volume to a system built on value,” said De Witte. “The health cloud will help us get there.”

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