For good reasons, including product safety, quality assurance, development of delivery procedures and instructions, it has been a common practice for medical device companies and innovators to consult with physicians during innovation. In a 2021 posting citing an analysis published in the journal Health Affairs, MedTech Dive states that payments to physicians from medical device companies during between 2014 and 2021 totaled $3.6 billion, coming out to $904 million per year.
Signaling what could be an emerging trend in a more integrated innovation approach, GE HealthCare announced two different collaborations this month with major healthcare providers. On September 14, 2023, the Mayo Clinic and GE HealthCare announced that they had entered into a strategic collaboration to advance innovation in medical imaging and theranostics. According to their press release, this “collaboration for research and product development programs is aimed to transform the experience of patients and clinicians in the practice of radiology and the delivery of novel therapies.”
According to GE HealthCare, the multi-focal collaboration brings together clinical research, product development, application of new clinical uses and techniques, and increased access for patients.
Matthew Callstrom, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Radiology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, states that “[t]his collaboration brings our research and clinical teams’ expertise and feedback closer to product development and commercialization of innovation, ultimately accelerating the rate of translation of our research to patient care and offering greater opportunity for global impact.”
Further emphasizing the benefit of this collaboration, Jan Makela, president and CEO of Imaging, GE HealthCare states that, “[b]y collaborating with their scientists, inventors and healthcare providers, we will accelerate innovation and increase the clinical impact of our technologies beyond what either of our organizations could achieve independently.”
Earlier this month, on September 6, 2023, GE HealthCare announced a collaboration with Mass General Brigham to predict Missed Care Opportunities (MCO’s). As part of the initial collaboration, GE HealthCare states in this press release the co-development of an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm that will help increase operations effectiveness and productivity. According to GE HealthCare, the first innovative AI application from the collaboration is what is referred to as a schedule predictions dashboard of Radiology Operations Module (ROM). GE HealthCare describes in its press release that the ROM is/will be a digital imaging tool designed to help optimize scheduling, reduce cost, and free providers from administrative burden, allowing more time for the clinician-patient relationship.
While this collaboration with Mass General Brigham is not for the development of a medical device, this additional example of a collaboration between a major medical device manufacturer and a major healthcare provider may be another indicator that such collaborations may become more common going forward.