The industrialization of medicine

Charlie Neimeth

Last week I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Simeon Schwartz from WESTMED ( speak about strategies for success in today’s healthcare business. WESTMED is a 240 physician multi-specialty practice with four large integrated sites in the New York City metropolitan area. WESTMED is thriving by doing some creative thinking and making some gutsy business decisions. Dr. Schwartz calls it imagination in healthcare. WESTMED’s approach is relevant to both provider organizations and vendors like GE Healthcare.

At WESTMED, visionary leadership, process redesign and smart systems drive success in the face of pressures like value based reimbursement, accountable care and consolidation. Dr. Schwartz described WESTMED’s approach as the industrialization of medicine. WESTMED is evolving its business strategies and clinical approach to align with initiatives like Meaningful Use and new treatment models like coordinated care. Facing these challenges has required focus on innovation and a clear mission. Those are the keys to success at WESTMED and also here at GE Healthcare.

At the same meeting, Don McDaniel from Sage Growth Partners ( spoke about market forces and the responses of successful organizations. Sage Growth Partners is a strategy, applied technology, and integrated venture management firm focused exclusively on healthcare and related industries. Don shared some data on the effects of cost pressures, consolidation, demographic forces, payer reform and new regulations. He also showed how progressive organizations are delivering more value with new care models like PCMH and ACO.

According to Don, real culture change is required for a team approach and enhanced access and continuity of care. Identifying and managing patient populations, driving wellness and community support, tracking and coordinating care and measuring and improving performance is new for many organizations. Business as usual is no longer an option. Don explained that successful organizations need to drive an “industrial revolution” in healthcare. Getting to a data-driven, team based, best practice operation requires throwing out all preconceived notions.

So how are we going to get there? Hearing both of these leaders talk about industrializing healthcare immediately made me think about how GE Healthcare can help drive this change. GE is the biggest industrial company in America.1 At GE Healthcare, we have industrialization in our genes. For us industrialization means process improvement and a systematic approach to reducing non-value added activities. We use this effectively for internal operations but it also guides our product development process and the services we provide our customers.

In the EMR and healthcare IT world, this means arming our customers with a broad array of solutions that work now and a partnership for the future focused on driving value in to the healthcare system. As healthcare becomes more industrialized, GE Healthcare will help drive the change.

Click here to learn more about GE’s Industrial Internet technologies

1 Fortune 500 – 2011 annual ranking of America’s largest corporations (


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