A radiologist studies an image from a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner at the Ambroise Pare hospital in Marseille, southern France, April 8, 2008. REUTERS

The GE Health Cloud may soon become a reality, enabling doctors to place their patients’ medical records in a special cloud-based place, to be created exclusively for the purpose. This would mean no more repetition of expensive and time-consuming medical tests for a patient at different medical centers.

"The holy grail of medical informatics right now is to have a cloud-based place where patients' info can live," Dr Alexander Baxter, an assistant professor of radiology at NYU, has been quoted as telling the Fast Company magazine.

The GE Health Cloud service will connect medical devices in such a way that patient data and records will be processed and available for viewing online, anywhere in the world. The Health Cloud, expected to be launched in late spring of 2016 with 500,000 GE machines, is said to meet the stringent US HIPAA privacy standards, eliminating any privacy concerns.

The service, set to cover radiology devices like CT, MRI scanners and ultrasound in the first phase, will later be expanded to cover other healthcare facilities, said GE Healthcare IT President and CEO Jan de Witte. According to Witte, though Health Cloud is the first industry-specific project based on GE’s new Predix Cloud, it is not restricted to GE devices.

Research firm MarketsandMarkets says the global healthcare computing market is estimated to touch US$9.48 billion by 2020 – a growth rate of 20 percent over 2015, reports Healthcare Informatics magazine.

The magazine cites various surveys to note that patient care organisations in the US are increasingly adopting health information technology, of which the Cloud is emerging an integral part.

Under the proposed GE Health Cloud system, medical centres would have the option of paying per item or subscribing to a volume of activities such as the number of scans uploaded in a month.

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