Among my top 3 HIMSS lightbulb moments was, appropriately, at a roundtable held by GE Healthcare.

Of course, I learned in outline form about GE’s strategy for electronic health records and digital imaging and personalized medicine.

This, I was prepared for.

Then I took a look at a schematic drawing with a patient at the center and GE’s many health touchpoints around the circumference.

Ponder for a moment those touchpoints: the Centricity EMR; the huge installed base of digital imaging technologies throughout the US (and the world); personalized medicine and women’s health; and, diagnostics.

Then there is NBC Universal.

Say, what?

Yes, NBC Universal. No doubt you have heard of that Big Four network, and its properties The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and scores of local TV stations.

There is a lot of health content there. Consider The Biggest Loser. Company representatives tell me that the show has spun off an online community of consumers who are supporting and inspiring each other. And these consumers are paying a monthly subscription fee to be part of this community.

iVillage, acquired by NBC Universal in 2006, still exists in its ‘pure’ form and is now a sponsor of Your Total Health. comScore recently reported that Your Total Health became a top 15 site in health search.

GE’s thinking out of the silo. They’re thinking cross-silo, inter-silo.

Now go back to that patient-centric circle and think about how NBC could leverage these assets toward improving patient engagement and, ultimately, health outcomes.

It’s an exciting vision, a long-term strategy. They’ve already done a pilot into one health condition, acid reflux, yielding what they believe are very positive results in terms of patient impact and physician involvement. More learnings are to follow through more disease-state pilots with consumers and physicians that bring together people, tools, health records, telemetry, diagnostics, and social networks.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: GE is taking the long view on health. The company can afford to, and they mean to be major players in this space. While GE is already a Major Player in the company’s core health businesses, they’re not sitting still. No doubt they’ve read The Innovator’s Dilemma, and know that stillness just isn’t an option for long-term growth.

That GE Healthcare and its sister companies and affiliates at NBC Universal are coming together to create content and tools that engage people/patients is an important development in the health/IT/social media space. NBC knows consumer engagement; GE knows health. Together, it’s an intriguing synergy with disruptive potential.

For more insights into GE Healthcare’s ongoing health innovations, see Health Populi on the company’s
foray into vaccine development posted in December 2007.