In a rapidly evolving world, the healthcare sector is at a crossroads of myriad challenges and opportunities. This insight identifies five key drivers propelling GE Healthcare: an ageing population with escalating prevalence of chronic diseases, the shift towards precision medicine, the utilisation of AI and the pursuit of innovation to enhance diagnostic imaging and expand its accessibility. Each driver underscores a fundamental trend in global healthcare and illustrates how GE Healthcare is not just adapting but spearheading the industry’s journey towards more efficient, personalised and accessible healthcare solutions.
Diagnostic imaging is an indispensable tool in modern healthcare, providing a non-invasive method of identifying and monitoring medical conditions. The demand for imaging among older adults tends to increase to a certain age and then begins to taper off. Peak utilisation for MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is 70-74 while CT (computed tomography) scans are fixtures in the 80-84 age bracket.
The rising demand for diagnostic imaging for the ageing population is not just a fleeting trend but a long-term driver for GE Healthcare. It is projected that by 2050 16% of the global population will be aged 65 and above, a sharp rise from the current 9%. This demographic evolution necessitates an uptick in healthcare services, particularly diagnostic imaging, which plays a crucial role in the early detection and management of age-related ailments.
The prevalence of chronic diseases is also on an upward trajectory, especially among people over 50. It is projected by 2050 the US will see a staggering 99.5% increase in people over 50 with at least one chronic disease and a 91.2% increase in those with multiple chronic conditions. That compares to a 61% increase in the population size for the age bracket. This daunting reality signals a growing demand for efficient, safe and less invasive diagnostic and treatment options, a demand GE Healthcare is well-positioned to meet.
Imaging is at the forefront of identifying and managing chronic diseases. It gives physicians a better understanding of the extent of a disease, facilitating accurate diagnosis and effective treatment planning.
In addition, CT and MRI scans are invaluable in monitoring treatment progress and effectiveness. This not only enhances patient comfort but also significantly reduces recovery times.
The modern concept of precision medicine involves tailoring medical treatment to individual characteristics, and is becoming a cornerstone of medical practice. The idea is simple yet profound: by considering a person’s genetic makeup, environmental factors and lifestyle, medical care can be personalised for more effective outcomes. A significant 60% of clinicians have recognised the importance of precision medicine, foreseeing it as a crucial part of healthcare’s future.
At the core of precision healthcare are early diagnosis and personalised treatment plans. Both elements rely heavily on advanced imaging technology. MRI and CT scans help clinicians detect and monitor diseases at a very early stage, but also play a pivotal role in tailoring treatment plans to the individual, ensuring the care provided is precisely aligned with a patient’s unique medical needs.
As precision healthcare continues to gain traction, the demand for advanced diagnostic imaging and individualised treatment solutions is expected to increase. GE Healthcare, with its robust portfolio of imaging technologies, is poised to meet this rising demand, thus anchoring its position as a key player in the evolving landscape of precision medicine.
Comprehensive patient data is essential to precision medicine. However, the healthcare sector already struggles with the immense volume of data available. A staggering 97% of all health data collected in hospitals is unused. Clinicians lack the bandwidth and technical skills to process and extract value from data, which presents a significant obstacle to developing precise diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.
AI represents a transformative solution to this data conundrum. In addition to aiding clinicians with data management and image interpretation, AI has the capacity to enhance image resolution, optimise machine efficiency and reduce the cost per image produced. This, in turn, drives aggregate demand for imaging services.
GE HealthCare is a leader in this field with more FDA-approved AI/ML medical devices than any other company and a clear focus on developing new AI imaging technologies.
Innovation sits at the heart of GE Healthcare’s long-term growth strategy. Two shining examples demonstrate how this ethos is helping the company stay ahead in the sector.
The advanced technology of Photon Counting CT (PCCT) is set to revolutionise medical imaging, offering better tissue discrimination, higher-resolution images and lower radiation doses than conventional CT. The specific technology GE is pursuing, known as ‘deep silicon’, utilises proprietary silicon semiconductors in the detector. In contrast to Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) detectors, deep silicon technology has greater potential for future cost reductions as the technology improves and production scales.
The miniaturisation of ultrasound is another innovation likely to stimulate growth. Traditional ultrasound machines are bulky and expensive, generally requiring specific training to operate. This makes them inaccessible to many healthcare providers who might otherwise benefit from their use. GE Healthcare has developed a handheld ultrasound machine that can be used in conjunction with a smartphone, making this vital diagnostic tool available to a far broader audience. Adding the benefits of AI, GE envisions a future where anyone can perform basic sonography, offering better and quicker diagnostics at the point of care and vastly expanding the addressable market for the technology.
GE HealthCare is well-positioned to take advantage of these five key drivers. Its focus on enhancing diagnostic imaging, personalising patient care, utilising AI and driving innovation lays a solid foundation to meet the diverse challenges ahead. As these key drivers continue to shape the sector, GE Healthcare’s strategies reflect current needs while aiming for a future where healthcare is more personalised, efficient and accessible.
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