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A Year of Sustainability Stories: Precision Health

Will Palmer
June 29, 2022

The idea of making the world more sustainable also applies to healthcare. On area involves precision health — the idea that treatment can be tailored to individual patients. This helps providers achieve better outcomes for patients, operate more efficiently and eliminate waste. One example is the Oregon Care System (OCS), which gives clinicians in Oregon near real-time information about ICU beds and other critical care resources in the state, using more than 4 million data points per day. GE Healthcare’s Vscan Air, a handheld wireless ultrasound scanner, beams images from the ultrasound probe to a smartphone app and can help clinicians in hospitals and in rural settings care for patients. Look at our list below.


Smarter Hospitals


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Rolled out during the pandemic, the Oregon Care System (OCS) is a software suite developed by GE Healthcare and powered by artificial intelligence. It gives clinicians in Oregon near real-time information about ICU beds and other critical care resources in the state. It uses more than 4 million data points per day to match patients with required medical resources. “If you can get the right patient to the right ICU bed, you’ll be preserving capacity for those who need it,” says Jeff Terry, who leads Clinical Command Centers, the GE Healthcare unit that developed the software. “But the system is also helping to lighten the administrative load. We estimate that the new system could save Oregon’s hospitals around 43,000 hours of human effort per year.” Read the story here.


Ultrasound Help


Vscan Air


In 2020, Dr. Yale Tung Chen, an emergency medicine clinician in hard-hit Madrid, Spain, became one of a handful of clinicians around the world testing Vscan Air, a handheld, wireless ultrasound scanner developed by engineers at GE Healthcare. The device, which GE released for sale in the U.S. and Europe in March 2021, beamed images from the ultrasound probe to an app on his smartphone. “I’ve been using it on COVID-19 patients, scanning hearts, lungs, blocked vessels,” he says. It fit inside his white coat pocket and allowed him to examine his patients “and make decisions quickly right at the bedside.” Anders Wold, president and CEO of global ultrasound at GE Healthcare, envisions the Vscan Air “as delivering on the future of healthcare at a time when ultrasound has proven to be an essential tool at the point of care.” The family of Vscan tech is making a big difference in a wide variety of settings. In Papua New Guinea, where roads are scarce and many babies are delivered at home, Vscan has been an invaluable tool for supporting expectant mothers and their babies. In Zambia, Sister Miriam Cibale Mushoda is using Vscan where she once relied on her hands to tell if an expectant mother was carrying her baby in breech. Dr. Nils Petter Oveland also has found the technology essential, whether on a three-month mission to Haiti or overseeing research and development at the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation. At St. Luke’s University Health Network in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, widespread Vscan use is helping improve the standard of care and save money through increased efficiency. Read about the Vscan here.


Smarter Cancer Treatment


Cancer AI Getty Images


The University of Cambridge, Cambridge University Hospitals and GE Healthcare have agreed to collaborate on developing an application aiming to improve cancer care, with Cambridge providing clinical expertise and data to support GE Healthcare’s development and evaluation of an AI-enhanced application that integrates cancer patient data from multiple sources into a single interface. Building on research supported by the Mark Foundation for Cancer Research and Cancer Research UK, the collaboration aims to address the problems of fragmented or siloed data and disconnected patient information, which is challenging for clinicians to manage effectively and can prevent cancer patients from receiving optimal treatment. Read more here.


GE Research And AT&T Partner On 5G


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Over the past two decades, four generations of mobile networks have changed how we live, shop and talk to each other. But the next generation of wireless networks, 5G, which can achieve data transmission speeds 10 to 100 times faster than we’re currently used to, could quickly change the status quo again. One industry it could alter dramatically is healthcare. GE Research is partnered with Verizon and AT&T to bring 5G connectivity to the digital test bed at GE’s Forge Lab in upstate New York so that industrial applications of tomorrow, including healthcare, can be tested today.  Read about it here.