Whether they know it or not, folks who have had an ultrasound or MRI have likely used GE Healthcare's equipment. As the health care unit of diversified giant General Electric, GE Healthcare is a leading maker of diagnostic imaging equipment, such as MRI, ultrasound, and computed tomography (CT) scanners. The company has its fingers in other medical equipment pies as well: It makes surgical and clinical scanning and monitoring systems (such as ECG monitors), as well as imaging contrast agents (dyes) and molecular diagnostic tests. GE Healthcare also develops technology for drug discovery and manufacturing processes, and it makes clinical and financial management software for health care providers.
While the global General Electric conglomerate is based in the US, the GE Healthcare division is headquartered in the UK. The company supplies its products worldwide.
Its products are organized into five segments: health care systems (diagnostic imaging, monitoring, and patient care equipment); surgery (interventional imaging products for minimally invasive surgeries); life sciences (drug discovery and manufacturing technologies); medical diagnostics (chemical imaging agents); and health care IT.
The company's healthcare products include diagnostic imaging systems such as magnetic resonance, computed tomography, and positron emission tomography scanners, X-ray, nuclear imaging, digital mammography and molecular imaging technologies. Healthcare-manufactured technologies include patient and resident monitoring, diagnostic cardiology, ultrasound, bone densitometry, anesthesiology and oxygen therapy, and neonatal and critical care devices. Related services include equipment monitoring and repair, information technologies and customer productivity services. Products also include diagnostic imaging agents used in medical scanning procedures, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing and purification, and tools for protein and cellular analysis for pharmaceutical and academic research, including a pipeline of precision molecular diagnostics in development for neurology, cardiology and oncology applications.
Sales and Marketing
The company sells its products and services are sold worldwide to hospitals, medical facilities, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and to the life science research market.
The Healthcare segment accounted for 12% of General Electric's 2014 revenues.
GE Healthcare has kept itself at the top of the supplier pile by diversifying its product line (through in-house research and development efforts and by making acquisitions and setting up joint venture projects) and by introducing new services to the market.
Within the growing IT segment, GE Healthcare's Centricity unit provides solutions including electronic health record platforms, revenue-cycle management software, and payroll and billing systems for hospitals and physician practices. The company has a joint venture with technology firm Intel that provides remote patient monitoring systems for the home health and nursing home markets.
In addition, GE Healthcare and Microsoft share the Caradigm venture, which is developing a platform to combine provider, patient, and payer information into one interoperable health data network.
In 2015 Maquet and GE Healthcare announced that they were working together to develop a new flexible angiography system for surgical procedures and catheter-based interventions.
GE Healthcare's Clarient Diagnostic Services unit entered an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline in 2014 to establish a network of clinical laboratories to identify various genetic mutations; the arrangement is intended to improve access to diagnostic testing for patients with cancer.
The company has also been working to expand international sales efforts, particularly in emerging markets such as China and India. Growth efforts in emerging markets help to offset slower sales growth in other established markets.
To raise cash, in 2014, the company sold its Breas Medical unit (ventilatiors, sleep apnea products) to the private investment firm PBM Capital Group. In 2013 GE Healthcare sold its Vital Signs business, which makes disposable supplies for the anesthesia and respiratory care markets, to CareFusion for some $500 million.
Mergers and Acquisitions
GE Healthcare has made a number of strategic acquisitions in recent years to expand its operations in key product areas, including health care IT and molecular diagnostics. In early 2014 it paid some $1 billion for Thermo Fisher's cell culture, gene modulation, and magnetic beads businesses. It's also strengthening its software, data, and analytics business in 2014 by buying Wisconsin-based API Healthcare, a healthcare workforce management software and analytics expert.
In 2012 it expanded its genetic testing operations through the purchase of nucleic acid sequencing firm SeqWright; the firm also widened its women's health ultrasound system offerings through the purchase of U-Systems. And in 2011 the company bolstered its life science offerings when it acquired PAA Laboratories, a global provider of cell culture lab supplies, and Applied Precision, a maker of cellular imaging technologies for pharmaceutical and biological research labs.
In 2011 GE Healthcare received FDA approval for a mobile fetal monitoring device and launched a new imaging agent for the detection and monitoring of Parkinson's disease symptoms. Also in 2011 GE Healthcare made commitments to dedicate chunks of its R&D budget towards cancer diagnosis and treatment projects, as well as programs to develop low-dose radiation technologies.