Iron Bow’s uncertain future with $258 million VA Home Telehealth contract

Iron Bow Technologies’s setback with their VA contract confirmed. Iron Bow, which partnered last year with Vivify Health to provide telehealth services to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, received an unfavorable ruling on the US country of origin of the Vivify Health system that essentially stops the contract implementation.

Under Title III of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979, Federal suppliers must produce their products in the US or substantially transform the components in such a way that it becomes a product of the US. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), makes this determination. Vivify Health contended that their Vietnam-produced tablet, because of their US-produced Vivify Health Pathways software and further US-based modifications to convert it into an FDA-regulated medical device, was transformed into a US product. In August, the CBP determined that the end product did not meet the transformation standard based on decades of precedent and the country of origin remained Vietnam. Transformation, yes, but not enough or the right kind for the CBP. Federal Register 8/22/17

An interesting Federal regulatory disconnect is that the FDA considers the Vivify tablet a regulated medical device. CBP considers it a communications device as the tablet transmits data from other medical devices but does not take those measurements itself. 

Vivify Health has publicly used in implementations with health organizations Samsung tablets. It is not known if the tablet reviewed by the CBP is manufactured by Samsung.

Both Iron Bow and Vivify Health were asked by this Editor for comments. Iron Bow’s response:

We have received an unfavorable ruling from United States Customs and Border Protection (“Customs”) regarding our proposed solution for the Home Telehealth contract. We respectfully disagree with the findings by Customs and have appealed the matter to the United States Court of International Trade. We are currently in discussions with our customer regarding the possible options for a path forward.

Vivify has not responded to date. 

Certainly, this is a sizable financial loss to both Iron Bow and Vivify if they cannot go forward with the VA, whether through a court decision or a different procurement process for the tablet to qualify it as US origin. Last February, we reported that the VA awarded the billion-dollar five-year Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Home Telehealth contract to four providers: incumbent Medtronic, Iron Bow, Intel Care Innovations, and service-disabled veteran-owned small business 1Vision. The award amount for each was $258 million over a five-year period, re-establishing the VHA as the largest telehealth customer in the US. All four awardees had in common that they were prior Federal contractors, either with the VA or with other Federal areas [TTA 1 Feb 17].

Medtronic and Care Innovations had long-established integrated telehealth systems but Iron Bow and 1Vision, as telemedicine and IT service providers respectively, did not have vital signs remote monitoring capability. In the solicitation, Iron Bow partnered with Vivify [TTA 15 Feb 17]. For 1Vision, it took nearly one year to announce that their telehealth partner was New York-based AMC Health, an existing provider of VA health services. It was also, for those in the field, a Poorly Kept Secret, as AMC Health had been staffing with VA telehealth veterans from the time of the award. (The joint release is on AMC Health’s site here.) The reason for the announcement delay is not known. AMC Health does not use a tablet system, instead transmitting data directly from devices or a mobile hub to a care management platform. They also provide IVR services.

Vivify has moved forward with other commercial partnerships, with the most significant being InTouch Health, which itself is on a tear with acquisitions such as TruClinic [TTA 19 Dec 17].

Hat tip to two alert Readers who assisted in the development of this article but who wish to remain anonymous.

Louisville’s Thrive Center showcases senior care technologies (KY)

Louisville, Kentucky is not the place our Readers would put at the top of their minds when thinking about assistive technologies for older adults, but the debut last week of The Thrive Center may change that. It’s a public-private partnership between the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Louisville Metro with private technology and senior living companies. It showcases technologies transforming senior care on a permanent, updating basis and demonstrated in use. 

The Center includes in their 7,500 square foot setting Samsung technologies integrated into a full-size kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedroom; AppliedVR virtual reality headsets; headphones from Eversound; brain fitness software from Posit Science; and music-as-medicine solutions from SingFit and wellness apps from EVŌ. The opening theme is assistance for memory care, which implies that the exhibits will be shifted to different themes in the future.

Companies which helped to establish Thrive include CDW Healthcare (IT), Samsung, Intel, Ergotron, Lenovo, HP/Aruba, Kindred Healthcare (post-acute care) and skilled nursing provider Signature HealthCare. Kindred and Signature are located in Louisville, which is a healthcare hub of the mid-South. It is also the headquarters of Humana and an operations center for Care Innovations–both notably absent from the partner list. CDW releaseSenior Housing News, Thrive Center website, Thrive Center release.

VA awards over $1 billion in Home Telehealth contracts–at long last (updated)

Breaking News, Updated  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on 1 Feb issued over $1 billion in awards to four companies to provide Home Telehealth vital signs monitoring technologies to veterans in home care and monitoring. The four companies are Medtronic, Care Innovations, Iron Bow Technologies, and 1Vision LLC. The $1 billion is split evenly between the four ($258 million for each company over the five-year duration). The contracts are for an initial year (31 Jan 2018 end date listed on GovTribe.com), renewable annually for five years total. The bid process started in 2015 and the award had originally been scheduled for early-to-mid 2016.

On the suppliers:

  • Medtronic is the incumbent as a supplier since 2011, dating back to Cardiocom’s 2011 award for its home monitoring units (Cardiocom was acquired in August 2013). Medtronic is a Dublin, Ireland HQ’d company with a US headquarters in Minnesota.
  • Care Innovations is well known to our Readers as the developer of Health Harmony and the acquirer of the QuietCare telecare/behavioral monitoring used in senior housing. Their parent is Intel.
  • Iron Bow Technologies is a supplier to VA in other healthcare areas (telemedicine and store-and-forward) and is a large, privately held IT company with multiple Federal contracts and deep Federal contractor roots. Their revenue has been reported at over $462 million (Washington Technology Top 100 2016).
  • 1Vision LLC is a new company formed as a joint venture between HMS Technologies, Inc. and MBL Technologies, Inc. Neither are previously engaged as home telehealth providers, but both are Federal contractors. According to their individual websites, HMS is an IT systems integrator and MBL is engaged primarily in cybersecurity.

The question for this Editor is how Iron Bow and 1Vision, which are not telehealth (vital signs) monitoring companies but telemedicine and IT service providers respectively, will execute Home Telehealth with the VA. Have they partnered with yet-to-be disclosed providers in providing home telehealth services to the VA? (Watch this space)

While the award is the largest in US telehealth, the VA is, by this Editor’s experience in her last position with Viterion Corporation, extremely demanding on its service providers and will be even more so in the future. The future reasons are clear: 1) President Trump has put a Klieg light on the VA and 2) he’s named a new VA secretary, Dr David Shulkin, who is currently VA Undersecretary for Health (confirmation hearing notes courtesy of POLITICO, nomination approved by the Senate committee Tuesday, and easily confirmed Monday night 13 Feb), who has been highly engaged with HIT issues, including both the VistA EHR modernization/replacement and initiatives such as the recently unveiled Digital Health Platform [TTA 12 Jan]. (more…)

The growth of telehealth, and the confusion of terminology (US)

Becker’s Health IT and CIO Review has written up a US-centric review of recent advances in telehealth and telemedicine but kicks it off with the confusion level between the two terms. Internationally, and in these pages, they are separate terms; telehealth referring primarily to vital signs remote monitoring, and telemedicine the ‘virtual visit’ between doctor and patient, between two clinical sites, or ‘store and forward’ asynchronous exchange (e.g. teleradiology). Somehow, in US usage, they have been conflated or made interchangeable, with the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) admitting to same, and American Well simply ‘just doing it’ in relabeling what they provide. On top of it, the two are incorporating elements of each into the other. Examples: TytoCare vital signs measurement/recording into American Well’s video visit; Care Innovations Health Harmony also providing video capability.

Of particular interest to our international readers would be the high rate of US growth in telemedicine utilization from 7 to 22 percent (Rock Health survey). Teladoc, the largest and publicly traded provider, passed the milestone of 100,000 monthly visits in November and the ATA estimates 1.25 million from all providers for 2016 (Teladoc release). Other US competitors include the aforementioned American Well, MDLive, and Doctor on Demand, the latter two also selling direct to consumer. They also compete against doctor-on-house call services like Pager and Heal. Reimbursement remains an issue both privately and publicly (Medicare and Medicaid) on a state-by-state level, with telehealth experiencing significant difficulties, as well as internet access, speed, and usage by older adults.

Care Innovations gets into the behavior change training business

An under-the-radar move by Intel-owned Care Innovations, which markets the Health Harmony telehealth and the QuietCare behavioral telemonitoring systems, is their entrance in the behavior change training business.

Care Innovations developed an accredited (CE eligible) training course for nurses to effect behavior change in patient beyond what may be a limited telehealth engagement. According to their release, the training will help them with coaching patients to increase their engagement with their health and identifying areas for improvement, along with the appropriate technology.

The three-hour course work, designed primarily for telehealth nurses but open to all, has three key learning sections:

  1. Six steps to take to achieve behavior change in healthcare
  2. Learning four coaching skills: crafting open-ended questions, sharing words of affirmation, demonstrating reflective listening and crafting summary statements
  3. Discussing the most common challenges associated with acting as the coach, which are avoidance, ambivalence, resistance and compliance.

There are three sessions before the end of the year, priced at a relatively modest below $300 rate, with group discounts. Information is on their website here.

It’s an interesting move in that the training seemingly is not exclusive to CI clients, although this Editor would expect that 1) it would fit best with CI’s system and 2) is a way of cultivating prospective clients in an academic, value-added way.

For CI, it is another association with the ‘intersection of behavior change and technology’ (more…)

Eric Dishman departs Intel for NIH’s Precision Medicine Initiative Program

click to enlargeLate breaking news….Reported in Aging in Place Technology Watch from the Oregonian is that Eric Dishman, one of Oregon’s more famous sons (and certainly a star in health tech), is leaving Intel after 17 years. Currently an Intel Fellow and general manager of the Health and Life Sciences for the Data Center Group (profile), he is joining the National Institutes for Health (NIH) in their Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Cohort program as a director. According to the Oregonian, Mr Dishman “will lead an effort to study more than 1 million volunteers to study the impact of “precision medicine” – the practice of studying an individual’s specific genetic makeup and lifestyle to produce targeted treatments. It had been a key focus of Dishman’s work at Intel, and he had helped design the study he will now oversee.” Mr Dishman had his own extreme experience with precision medicine to treat his recurrent cancer in 2012, which made him eligible for a life-saving kidney transplant later that year [TTA 27 Feb 14 and 12 Apr 2013]. He had recently been a key part of the PMI Network working group in this ‘audacious’ study as NIH, in announcing his appointment, termed it. His last day at Intel will be 29 April, according to Intel’s data center chief. Replacing him (at least in the organization) on an interim basis will be Steve Agritelley. NIH release, USNews interview

Laurie Orlov (hat tip re this article–Ed.) commented to this Editor that Mr Dishman could be considered the ‘father of Care Innovations‘; certainly he was crucial to the development of the original Intel Health Guide out of Intel’s Digital Health Group, and was prominently in the leadership of the early Louis Burns days of the company. His work during Intel spanned over LeadingAge’s CAST, Ireland’s Technology Research for Independent Living (TRIL) Centre, Everyday Technologies for Alzheimer’s Care (ETAC) and the Oregon Center for Aging & Technology (ORCATECH). Mr Dishman’s work is marked by a singular focus on delivering health into the home, changing aging and hospitals as we know them. Now he will be more focused on genomic medicine and changing disease treatments as we know them.

Your Editors wish him good fortune and hope that his experiences with NIH and in Washington will be fruitful and all that he intends it to be.

Care Innovations’ ‘record growth in 2015’; replaces CEO; GE departs partnership

click to enlargeCare Innovations‘ recent (undated) press release (discovered as a LinkedIn update), if read without a Gimlet Eye, could be read as another one of those ‘good news’ releases that build company awareness and get it picked up on websites such as TTA. Certainly there’s a nice spin of positive news for remote monitoring technologies, particularly more complex ones in vital signs monitoring and broadening out their applicability. (More on those below.) But the observant eye will pick out a couple of ‘aha!’ moments at this company that got slipped in, but not slipped by, the Eye.

The first is that GE has departed the building. Always the junior partner except for the very beginning in 2009, GE apparently exited sometime after December based on the last press release with Intel-GE identification issued 1 Dec 2015. The boilerplate company description is no longer ‘Intel-GE Care Innovations’ but now ‘Care Innovations, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation’. Lift your eyes to the company logo at the top left of the web page, and there it is, ‘An Intel Company’. GE is not fully cleansed, still to be found on product pages such as Health Harmony and QuietCare, as well as the copyright line at the bottom of each web page. (More work to be done)

The second is the appearance of CI’s new CEO, Randy Swanson, in the executive quote and on the ‘team’ website page. His bio notes that he’s a 17-year Intel finance/business development veteran, at one point with responsibilities in the Digital Health Group. Tea leaf readers might well surmise that Intel will now emphasize profitability at CI after the major repositioning and partner expansion during the 2.5 years of Sean Slovenski’s tenure (a non-Intel’er departed in January to Healthways, TTA 13 Jan).

The release also has a few more interesting moments. (more…)

Telegraph takes a quick look at CES 2016 trends, including wearables (updated)

click to enlargeIt’s hard to believe that with the end of the year, the Next Big Event for many is the Consumer Technology’s Association‘s CES 2016 in Las Vegas 6-9 January. The Telegraph notes six trends in this breezy overview of what’s going to be The Next Big Things at the show: connected cars (lots of automaker concepts including the hush-hush Faraday electric), cybersecurity (especially irking this year with healthcare taking three of the top seven-Healthcare IT News), drones (buzzing at a location near you, despite the FAA), wearables (most impacting digital health), virtual/augmented reality (with utility in rehabilitation not mentioned here), and the ever-annoying, ever-cloying Internet of Things. On wearables, the show floor has apparently tripled in size since last year, and the article highlights the Mimo baby sleep monitor and the Qardio ECG monitor. (Unfortunately this Editor missed the November New York CES preview as she was attending HIMSS Connected Health, and due to other commitments won’t be going to Vegas, Baby.) Six predictions for CES 2016: drones, cybersecurity, wearables and more (Telegraph)

Update. During CES, Parks Associates will hosting their 7th annual CONNECTIONS Summit on 6-7  January (Wednesday – Thursday). The most health tech related session is ‘Wearables: Healthcare, IoT, and Smart Home Use Cases’ on Wednesday 10:30am-11:45am, with a panel including executives from Honeywell Life Care, Care Innovations, Qualcomm, Independa, IFTTT and Lumo Body Tech, hosted by director Harry Wang of Parks whom this Editor counts as a Grizzled Pioneer, Research Division. Separate registration required. Information and full agenda here.

To our Readers: Are you attending CES? Interested in contributing some insights? Contact Editor Donna.

Telecare innovator Lively acquired by GreatCall (updated)

click to enlargeGreatCall, which markets the popular Jitterbug simple phones and ancillary safety/security services (5 Star, mPERS) targeted to older adults, has acquired the assets of home activity personal monitoring system Lively. According to GreatCall’s press release, Lively’s technologies will be integrated into GreatCall products. These include a tastefully designed brace of self-installed in-home motion sensors, which made quite a splash when introduced in 2012, and a fairly stylish mPERS watch introduced last year. From the announcement, it’s easy to deduce that Lively was largely inactive despite partnerships led by Care Innovations: the press release on both Lively and GreatCall’s site was issued from GreatCall only and not joint contact; Lively’s last round of funding was in 2013 (only $7.3 million total, another Series A to B casualty) and there are no Lively employees transitioning to GreatCall for the good reason that there are none left (Mobihealthnews). No word on founder Iggy Fanlo’s next plans save a squib on LinkedIn saying that hardware was hard and his next move would likely be in software. With last year’s sale of AFrame Digital (with no further word from the purchaser) and BeClose now Alarm.com Wellness (not a surprise as it was built on an Alarm.com platform), as we close the year it is further confirmation that it is No Country for Small Players in digital health. Photo: Lively.

Update: Tart take from seasoned Aging Tech business observer Laurie Orlov on Lively’s rise and fall, with additional history. Her POV is that as attractive as Lively’s concept was, its business strategy should give pause to the Silicon Valley investor and entrepreneur crowd thinking this is just another kind of direct-to-consumer hardware-service sell, the long payout of any tech in this field and the opposed short time frame of VCs. It’s also not like there haven’t been a few predecessors fallen on the field, either. Aging in place tech firm Lively is out of business – what can we learn?

Big home health win for telehealth confirms trend: must expand services, analytics

One of the most logical places for telehealth, remote care management (RCM) and transitional/chronic condition management (TCM/CCM) is with home health providers and post-acute care, yet perennially it has been on the ‘maybe next year’ list for most telehealth providers. That ‘next year’ may be getting a little closer with the news that Intel-GE Care Innovations has inked a multi-year deal (no pilot-itis here) with major (~400 facilities) home health provider Amedisys using their PC/tablet-based Health Harmony platform.

The initial focus is an ambitious one: reducing hospitalizations and ER/ED visits among patients with congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, depression as well as patients who have two or more of these conditions (co-morbidities). The most interesting to this Editor is the parenthetical mention of analyzing ADLs (activities of daily living) with clinical data. Does this imply the engagement of their venerable ADL monitor QuietCare? (It’s something the founding company worked on circa 2006 while this Editor was there; one would think the analytics have advanced since then.) Another aspect is that Care Innovations will manage Amedisys’ complete RCM program from recruiting to logistics, data analytics and application integration services. Business Wire

What this means: Telehealth (and telecare) companies are now increasingly obliged in these big wins to provide a plethora of additional related services. Health care providers demand services beyond the monitoring technology. They want the turnkey package, from nurse evaluations, care coordination/management, to analytics and logistics.This ‘service creep’ implies alliances and mergers to add on to technological monitoring capabilities–and beaucoup financing. (more…)

Care Innovations partners with caregiver mental health app Happify

Intel-GE Care Innovations announced yesterday a partnership with NYC-based Happify to integrate their mental health for caregivers app into Health Harmony by 1st Quarter 2016. Happify is a game-based app targeted to caregivers of the chronically ill to support their mental health and wellbeing through cognitive behavioral therapy, ‘positive psychology’ and conquering negative thinking. Currently it is marketed to healthcare providers and corporate wellness programs. According to the release, “By adding on access to Happify’s innovative mobile app, Care Innovations will be able to leverage state-of-the-art programs to improve the well-being of family caregivers and offer additional programs to its clients.” This is certainly an interesting integration to the typical vital signs and qualitative information gathering of patient data in thinking about the caregiver. However, we note that a previously announced partnership, with UK’s buddi announced last December, is not to be found on the CI website. Release (Business Wire)

Care Innovations finds a home in Mississippi

The Intel-GE Healthcare joint venture, Care Innovations, last week inked a full five-year deal with the University of Mississippi Medical Center to use remote care management tools, such as their Health Harmony telehealth platform, in the home setting to reduce readmissions and ER/ED use. The chronic medical conditions they will be tracking are congestive heart failure, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and hypertension. According to Healthcare Finance, the RPM, data analytics and application integration services they are developing may be offered outside the state. This follows on reported positive results produced by a statewide population health program, the Diabetes Telehealth Network, involving both CI and UMMC’s Center for Telehealth. The results for the six-month first phase of the remote care management program, which included 100 Mississippians with diabetes: a 1.7% average A1C reduction, zero hospitalizations and ER visits, and a savings of $339,184 over six months. The CI and UMMC goal is to enroll 1,000 patients per month through 2016, and to save $189 million in Medicaid cost among diabetics alone.  Care Innovations release. Health Data Management. This follows on GE Healthcare’s acquisition of healthcare consultancy Camden Group [TTA Nov 12]

Care Innovations goes East–down home to Kentucky

Intel and GE’s joint venture, Care Innovations, is opening an IT and product development center in Louisville KY’s Norton Commons live/work community. According to reports, the 10-person office was opened to develop “software for medical monitoring systems that allow people to measure their vital signs in own homes and that will analyze the data for health care providers”, which sounds like a description of Health Harmony as mentioned further in the article. Also cited by CEO Sean Slovenski was the recent acquisition of several major clients in Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. Headquarters will remain in Roseville, California, northeast of Sacramento and far east of Silicon Valley. Why Louisville? It’s the headquarters of Humana, currently in the early stages of a merger with Aetna. Mr Slovenski is an alumnus of Humana who undoubtedly recognizes that there’s always talent which shakes loose with any merger, often proactively. He has reorganized the company top to bottom since the days in the doldrums under Louis Burns, and added initiatives such as the Validation Institute plus academic relationships with the Jefferson School of Population Health, Xavier University and the University of Mississippi. Louisville is also a lot closer to Washington DC (1.5 hour flight time) and all those wonderful Federal programs with lots and lots of funding.  Louisville Business First, release.

Speaking of the Aetna-Humana merger, it now has a strong boss man to make sure it works–Rick Jelinek, CEO for a year of OptumHealth, 19 years at predecessor now unit UnitedHealthcare including leading the Medicare Advantage and Medicaid businesses. The stakes are high in that the merger will create the second-largest managed care company in the US. Mr Jelinek also will lead Aetna’s enterprise strategy division, and will report directly to Aetna’s CEO. The timeline, unless the Feds put on the brakes, is to close in second half 2016. The combined operating revenue is projected at about $115 billion, with about 56 percent from government-sponsored programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid. The plan, according to Louisville Business First, is to headquarter the combined Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare businesses in Louisville. But, as they say, the meal is still being prepared, and assuredly not everyone at either company will find a seat at this table, or one they want to sit in.

When disruptive healthcare tech disrupts the wrong things, including safety

click to enlargeLast week’s Health 2.0 conference was (of course) a three-ring circus of new technology and its corollary, a lot of hype. An astute writer new to this Editor, Michael Millenson, draws together the key points of two prominent, but not hyped speakers there: Robert Wachter, MD and Michael Blum, MD, both practicing in University of California San Francisco’s (UCSF) medical center. Dr Wachter, chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine, has been profiled in these pages earlier this year in a review of an excerpt from his book, The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age. There he wrote about the example of Pablo Garcia, nearly dying from over-prescribed doses of an antibiotic that a chain of errors in their EHR started. Dr Blum is Director of UCSF’s Center for Digital Health Innovation. But their points are on the same track: “the danger of disruptive technology that disrupts the wrong things: upsets checks and balances that keep patients safe, makes working conditions more stressful and simply doesn’t play well with others.” His conclusions are on the money: #1, it’s not the technology but the adaptive change that front and back line clinicians will need to make; #2, entrepreneurs with whiz-bang tech that zips data to the clinician without fitting it into a care process are doomed to fail; #3 some kind of curation is needed. But whether that will be Care Innovations’ Validation Institute or Social Wellth (which purchased the late Happtique from GNYHA) is another story. Key for Health IT Entrepreneurs: Don’t Disrupt the Wrong Thing (Forbes)

ONC gets in study game in designing the Consumer Centered Telehealth Experience

ONC (the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, HHS) in the spring conducted a design session on creating a more consumer-centered telehealth experience, commissioning the engagedIN research firm to help select a panel, run it and produce the study. The white paper focuses on how telehealth can either further fracture or integrate PHR (study pages 7-11), and what’s needed to make telehealth and telemedicine more convenient and effective for consumers. The panel avoided the big telemedicine providers (a bone that Mobihealthnews picks with the study) which typically dominate these panels–to this Editor a positive action–but included other telehealth providers like Qualcomm Life, Care Innovations and Zipnosis, as well as the US’ largest user of telehealth, VA Home Telehealth. Among the key drivers of telehealth are HHS’ and private insurers (UHC) shift to value-based payments; CMS’ target of 50 percent of Medicare value-based care is cited (page 5). There are nine principles at the end (pgs 13-16) to guide the way forward. Designing the Consumer Centered Telehealth and e-Visit Experience (PDF) (Though it is confusing why e-Visit was used rather than ‘virtual visits’ or, in fact, telemedicine.)

GE Healthcare staying together: CEO (updated)

click to enlargeIt’s ‘black and white’ but not GE blue all over! During an investor conference Wednesday, GE Healthcare’s CEO John Flannery insisted that “Bottom line is we have been black and white that all aspects of healthcare are part of our portfolio,” reported in Reuters. Investors have questioned the flatlining of both revenue and profit and the fact that GEHC doesn’t seem to fit well in the engineering/manufacturing bent of the Immelt-ized GE.

The speculation by investors and we in the healthcare press is rational. Earlier this year, GEHC announced the phaseout of the Centricity Enterprise (hospital) EHR. [TTA 15 April] Healthcare Financial Services and the services it would provide were also up in the air. Currently it lends to healthcare entities including hospitals and other health facilities to purchase equipment (made by GE) and real estate/facilities (not made by GE). Initial indicators was that GE would continue to finance what it sells. The real estate financing then is questionable, and undoubtedly an issue for healthcare facilities, as GE Capital has been sold. GE also sources funding for healthcare innovation through the Healthymagination Fund and GE Ventures, and of course has an interest in the Intel-GE JV, Care Innovations. What shape this financial arrangements will take in the future is not clear from the available information.

Also announced, according to Biospace, is $1 billion funding over the next five years for education to reach more than two million healthcare professionals worldwide–physicians, radiologists, technologists, midwives, nurses, biomedical engineers–geared to local needs. It will include new clinical, product application, technical and leadership training and education. A forward commitment of this magnitude does seem to confirm that GEHC is in the healthcare game.