GE Wants To Bankroll 'Highly Promising' Health-Care IT

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General Electric (GE) said Wednesday it will launch a $250 million equity fund to make investments in what GE calls "highly promising" health-care technology companies.

According to GE, the Healthymagination fund -- which is part of GE's broader, $6 billion Healthymagination initiative -- will focus on companies that specialize in diagnostic, IT and life science technology specialists. GE Healthcare will be particularly focused on companies that specialize in electronic medical records, clinical information systems, health information exchanges (HIE) and value-added data services.

For solution providers specializing in the health-care arena -- especially where infrastructure and application development are concerned -- GE's offer would seem of immediate interest.

"As GE works on solutions to healthcare's biggest challenges, it is vitally important that we support the development of companies with promising technologies or business models that are aligned with our strategy and have the potential to shape the future of healthcare," said GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt in a statement. "This includes smarter processes and technologies that measurably increase access to healthcare, reduce the cost of delivery and improve quality. The Healthymagination Fund gives us an opportunity to work with emerging companies to support their development, as well as provide them access to our technology base and our global presence."

Immelt detailed Healthymagination and introduced a number of new GE-branded health-care devices -- including an ultrasound device and a health-care-specific IT infrastructre -- at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. (Web 2.0 is in part sponsored by TechWeb, whose parent company, United Business Media, also owns Everything Channel.)

GE Healthcare, the conglomerate's health-care branch, has been aggressively stepping up its investment in health-care technology opportunities for the past few years. Earlier this year, GE announced a partnership with Intel to market Intel's Health Guide and develop health-care technologies for home settings. Home health care alone is a market expected to more than double in size and reach $7.7 billion by 2012.

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