The NHS is made up of more than 8,000 organisations, with many more across the wider health and care sector.
We may only be scratching the surface when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare, but its use has already been shown to improve productivity in several clinical areas. There are undoubtedly many more opportunities where it could be successfully deployed within this sector, however, seamlessly incorporating it into existing workflows can only be achieved through collaboration. GE Healthcare has developed the Edison™ Ecosystem with this in mind, providing a platform that brings healthcare professionals and AI innovators together like never before.
AI is already everywhere in our lives and is well established on the administrative side of healthcare, in tools such as booking systems for arranging appointments. However, uptake has been slow in other areas of patient care where it could be very beneficial. This situation has rapidly changed with the COVID-19 pandemic. Global health systems were stretched to their limits and have since urged healthcare professionals to reassess technology that could potentially make workloads manageable, prevent burnout, reinforce standards and improve clinical outcomes. GE Healthcare’s holistic and integrated Edison Ecosystem provides the ideal solution to address this, creating a trusted one-stop-shop where healthcare providers can purchase relevant market-ready tools – including apps for AI, clinical and imaging specialities – designed by innovators who are on the Edison Developer Program.
The last year alone has seen start-up funding for healthcare AI reach a record high, and there are now over 400 new companies working in this space. For these early enterprises, GE’s programme creates a fast track that offers a proven deployment mechanism in over 160 countries – subject to regulatory market authorisation – and a lifecycle management process that is well supported. Karley Yoder, Chief Digital Officer at GE Healthcare, commented: “AI is transforming healthcare and, at GE, we’re proud to be part of this journey. Our Edison Ecosystem is key to reaching maximum potential with these tools, right from when innovators first bring health-tech solutions to the market, to the creation of high volumes of data that drive better quality of care and save precious time.”
The Edison Ecosystem introduces a truly collaborative environment, bringing together stakeholders from five key areas – applications, devices, IT solutions, developer services and the healthcare providers themselves – who can collectively use their strengths to revolutionise healthcare where patient-centric services are offered. Claire Bloomfield, CEO of the National Consortium of Intelligent Medical Imaging (NCIMI), and an Edison Accelerator Advisory Board Member, commented: “Being creative and collaborating across the ecosystem is critical. This ensures that there is enough freedom to innovate and share data, while working across boundaries and different disciplines. Adopting AI in the NHS based on market trends will be key to improving patient care, increasing throughput of diagnostics imaging networks and supporting services affected by the pandemic.”
The growing portfolio already has over 100 applications developed by GE, its partners and independent software vendors, from which customers can choose an algorithm that is precisely tailored to their purpose. This is similar to an app store, so consumers no longer need to exclusively rely on big technology partners to fulfil system requirements, which will also have a positive impact on patient experience at every stage of the care pathway. Claire continued: “We’re fortunate to be collaborating with different NHS trusts, industry partners and patient charity groups, as well as the University of Oxford and, together our ambition is to bring them together to speed up the development and deployment of AI. Supporting multi-stakeholder collaboration programmes like the Edison Accelerator is central to the work of NCIMI.”
The Edison Ecosystem is already making a difference to healthcare systems around the world, effectively automating tasks in clinical settings ranging from acute triage and critical care to cardiology and radiology, saving clinicians a lot of time each day, and increasing their productivity. For example, the medical diagnostic company, MaxQ AI®, integrated with the Edison Open AI Orchestrator in 2019 to invent an AI-enabled technology – the ACCIPIO® platform – for the assessment of intracranial haemorrhage, stroke and head trauma in emergency rooms. This partnership is a perfect example of how the ecosystem is poised to take the world by storm, reaching every healthcare system on the planet, while accelerating the partners’ growth and profitability.
In the heat of the pandemic, it has become clear to stakeholders that the structure of this ecosystem can rapidly transform digital health to meet the expectations of users who can benefit in so many ways. Simon Rost, Marketing Director for EMEA at GE Healthcare, concluded: “This digital and collaborative ecosystem will accelerate the transformation for our customers in a way that they wouldn’t be able to do in isolation. Patient care will be better supported through more intuitive AI algorithms to help streamline workflows, and will help to alleviate clinical strain and more.”
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