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New GE device can lower ECG cost to Rs 9
Bangalore, Nov. 24 GE Healthcare’s latest ECG device, MAC I, is smaller than a laptop, costs Rs 25,000 and most important, it can slash your ECG bill to just Rs 9.

This, the company said, is over six times lower than prevailing rates and less than a bottle of mineral water.

The $17-billion medical devices major which unveiled the portable electrocardiogram on Monday, is globally on a $6-billion ‘Healthymagination’ campaign to conquer markets through such low-cost, quality products.

“The MAC I is priced at Rs 25,000 to enable hospitals and physicians charge patients as low as Rs 9 per ECG reading,” said Mr V. Raja, President, GE Healthcare South Asia.

The battery-operated product was developed at Bangalore’s GE John F. Welch Technology Centre, which also came out with the MAC-400 that costs Rs 50,000 in the country and the equivalent of Rs 1.5 lakh in the West. GE has tied up with the State Bank of India to provide finance to MAC I buyers at no interest, said Mr R.R. Balaji, General Manager, Cardiology, GE Healthcare South Asia.

Low-cost devices operated in remote places would help to detect heart diseases early in a country prone to cardiac problems, Mr Raja said.

HelpAge India, which said it treats 1,800 elders a month, received a MAC-I for its mobile clinics.

Mr Raja said, “We are developing at least 100 innovations that will reduce the cost of procedure, increase access and improve quality, such as the MAC 400 and the Lullaby (portable incubator)”. The GE range includes digital X-ray machines, ventilators, ultrasound and ECG.
Managed IT centres

GE also said it had cast the net beyond selling devices. It now offered to manage hospital IT solutions besides pushing its Web-based radiology systems.

It showcased the first client of its managed solutions, Delhi’s 80-year-old Diwan Chand Integral Health Services, which is integrating its five remote radiology centres on the GE system.

Mr Raja said IT formed $1.5 billion of the global healthcare major’s revenue. It marked GE’s expansion into the domestic hospital IT business, currently a small piece of a vastly promising market.

The managed Internet-based IT services were aimed at doctors, imaging or scanning centres and large hospitals that needed to integrate their multiple locations.

Healthcare IT, which seamlessly delivers health details to hospitals, doctors and patients any time, anywhere, “is the spine of any good healthcare infrastructure,” said Mr Vishal Wanchoo, President and CEO of GE Healthcare IT. It had not spread much in the country and “We [will] begin changing this through our new initiatives.”

GE has installed its Internet-based PACS-IW (picture archival and communication system) as an interface for radiologists reading scans from remote areas for the client, DCA. It also manages the data centre for a fee.

Dr Ajay Aggarwal, DCI Director and Radiologist, said the 24 radiologists at the imaging centre can now diagnose remote reports within four hours when they were out of hospital.

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