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Qwest, GE Bring ASP Model to Hospitals

Earlier this month, Dataquest reported that healthcare organizations now recognize the value of ASP proposition (see Prognosis Good for Healthcare ASPs). Today, two industry heavyweights validated that finding with a strong second opinion.

As part of a five-year technology agreement, GE Medical Systems Information Technologies, a clinical information management unit of General Electric (NYSE: GE), and Qwest Communications (NYSE: Q) announced that they will provide healthcare systems with high-speed access to patients' clinical information via ASP technology. The companies estimate that this ASP service will generate more than $250 million in gross revenue.

Under terms of the agreement, GE Medical Systems will provide ASP services to hospitals and healthcare systems, allowing them to transfer and store electronic medical data (e.g., X-rays) in Qwest's worldwide Web hosting CyberCenters. Qwest will store and manage the medical data.

"Healthcare systems are implementing new digital applications for data-intensive clinical areas, such as radiology, in order to improve both clinical and operational performance," said Greg Lucier, president and CEO, GE Medical Systems Information Technologies. "With modern diagnostic imaging scanners now capable of producing up to 1,000 images per exam, digital capture, review and storage systems are an absolute necessity. This, when coupled with impending patient privacy regulations surrounding medical data, has resulted in the need for GE's ASP solution."

GE first introduced its ASP offering nearly a year ago using traditional long-distance telephone networks. Since then, GE has contracted to provide radiology and cardiology ASP services to more than 50 healthcare sites in the U.S., according to the company.

GE's ASP solution, now supported by Qwest's fiber optic and data storage technologies, is designed to shift the technology implementation, infrastructure and related obsolescence risks from hospitals to GE and Qwest. GE says it plans to expand its ASP offerings to every clinical department in a hospital by 2003.

"Qwest's global, reliable and high-speed broadband network, as well as our secure CyberCenters, gives us the ability to offer GE Medical the hosting, storage, archiving and bandwidth to deliver to hospitals and doctors around the world," said Joel Arnold, executive vice president, Qwest Global Business Markets.

For example, GE says that with its ASP delivery model and Qwest's fiber optic infrastructure, a patient's cardiac images can be transferred from a New York hospital to a cardiologist in Los Angeles in less than five seconds.

"This will fundamentally change clinical workflow by providing clinicians with a complete, real-time view of the patient they are treating," said Vishal Wanchoo, vice president, GE Medical Systems Information Technologies.


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