Friday, August 17, 2012

Philippines - GE's Healthymagination gives a glimpse into the future of medical devices

MANILA, Philippines - Imagine a palm-sized device that you could easily take to disaster or far-flung areas to address medical emergencies.

It can be "charged" like a regular cellular phone and can come up with the same images as a large-sized ultrasound machine does. Its results can easily be downloaded into a computer and shared with other medical experts for study.

It may seem like a gadget straight out of a sci-fi movie or one of those smartphone applications that fall under the category of "entertainment." It isn't.

It's GE's V-scan and members of the press got to preview the device as the company launched its Healthymagination College educational roadshow in the Philippines.

"Healthcare is something that we have always been passionate about," said Tommy Tan, director for government affairs and policy of GE Healthcare Asia.

GE launched Healthymagination in 2009. It invested $6 billion over six years to develop "improve quality, access and cost by up to 15 percent with a focus on lower-cost technology, more information technology, expanding access, and consumer-driven health."

Tan sees the V-scan and other such devices as a tool in helping medical practitioners in diagnosing patients, especially in far-flung areas where bringing large medical equipment can be difficult or is impossible.

Reception for the device in its initial tests in Indonesia were positive; attendance in the natal care units where Vscan was used doubled.

GE is now developing localized versions of the machine for its markets in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Apart from the V-scan, GE also has the Vivid i, a laptop-like machine that can perform echocardiography, and the Vivid e, also a laptop-like device that can perform a complete cardiovascular measurement and analysis, among others.

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