GE Healthcare Voyages Into 3D Printing, Robotics, And AI

Multinational conglomerate, General Electric (GE) unveiled a string of deals that its Chicago-based healthcare subsidiary GE Healthcare has formed, including multiple partnerships and investments in innovative health technology spanning 3D printing, robot-assisted surgery, clinical surveillance software and more.

In 2019, the company announced a medtech 3D printing partnership with Massachusetts-based Formlabs. GE Healthcare also participated in the $24 million Series C funding round for CMR Surgical, the UK-based robot-assisted surgery device making firm as well as investing an undisclosed amount into Decisio Health, a Houston-based clinical surveillance software company.

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“Healthcare’s next chapter will be written in part by emerging technologies like 3D printing, robotic surgery, and virtual patient monitoring,” said president and CEO of GE Healthcare, Kieran Murphy. “That’s why we’re putting GE Healthcare’s innovative engine and resources behind collaborations with these exciting, next-generation companies — to help change the way clinicians work and enable more precise patient care.”

This comes as the healthcare subsidiary received a 510(k) clearance for a set of AI algorithms designed to detect collapsed lungs on X-ray images. The company hopes the technology will help hospitals identify high-priority cases and fast track their treatment. Now set to launch its Edison Developer Program, GE is at the precipice of the acceleration and adoption of AI applications and developer services across healthcare systems.

It was just over a year ago that GE had announced plans to spin off its healthcare unit into its own autonomous company but that idea proposal was quickly thwarted once the biotech business was sold to Danaher for $21.4 billion. Today, GE sells instruments, consumables, and software to support drug research and development as well as manufacturing.

The US healthcare market is expected to grow at a rate of 6% in 2020. This particularly slow growth is affected by continued reductions in Medicare reimbursement payments and hospital consolidation, resulting in slower decision making and increased purchasing power. But GE remains positive, expecting a shift towards precision health and subsequently new growth opportunities for its business. Specifically in patient monitoring, which the company sees being used with patients when they’re both sick and healthy, as well as AI as it drives more precise diagnostic decision-making.

GE Healthcare executives estimated 2019 revenue of $19.8 billion to $20.0 billion, on par with its reported 2018 revenue of $19.8 billion.