July 18, 2006 at 11:30 AM EDT
GE Healthcare's Centricity Electronic Medical Record Receives Certification for Physician Offices and Clinics

Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology Announces GE's Compliance with 100 Percent of the Functionality and Security Criteria Tested

GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) and a leading vendor of clinical, financial and administrative information technology solutions, today announced that its GE Centricity(R) Electronic Medical Record (EMR 2005 Version 6.0), a well-recognized comprehensive electronic health record (EHR), has received certification from the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT(SM)) for Ambulatory EHR 2006. Ambulatory EHRs are designed for physician offices and clinics where most Americans get their healthcare.

CCHIT, a voluntary private-sector initiative, was awarded a three year contract in September 2005 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop and evaluate certification criteria and an inspection process for ambulatory (office and clinic) EHRs, inpatient (hospital) EHRs and the networks through which they interoperate.

CCHIT Certified(SM) product certification provides an objective set of criteria against which health information technology products can be measured to enable purchasers to reliably make an investment in those products and to assure healthcare consumers that they can trust their healthcare information to be stored in those products.

"This monumental step in the healthcare industry indicates a shift in the market that may help reduce risk for physicians and encourage more practices to consider adoption," said Vishal Wanchoo, president and CEO of GE Healthcare Integrated IT Solutions. "With so many EHR vendors in the industry and a trend towards consolidation, we believe that certification will set us apart as a vendor capable of meeting the dynamic needs of physicians, patients and the healthcare industry as a whole."

Through the CCHIT certification process, HHS hopes to increase the transparency of the EHR marketplace and reduce risk for physicians and hospitals that select, purchase, and implement healthcare information technology. The CCHIT Certified EHR stamp of approval is an assurance to customers that GE's Centricity EMR meets the rigorous functionality, interoperability and security criteria tested by CCHIT.

For example, future criteria are intended to help promote EHR information exchange through standards-based compatibility with the emerging nationwide health information network (NHIN) architecture. Under the direction of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, the NHIN will create the foundation for the secure exchange of healthcare information, ultimately transforming the US healthcare system by enabling providers to access relevant patient information at the point of care, regardless of the setting.

Healthcare providers are therefore encouraged to look for EHR products featuring the CCHIT Certified seal and to invest in EHRs that have the necessary functionality to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of care.

Christopher Crow, MD, MBA, and founder of Family Medical Specialists of Texas, believes that CCHIT certification is a major step in the right direction for EMR vendors. "In the near future, it seems likely that the countless different insurer pay-for-performance protocols we have today will be combined in a national standard," said Dr. Crow. "Our investment in a system which has already received a seal of approval from CCHIT, the only national certification body currently inspecting EMRs, gives our organization a greater degree of comfort in our choice. The GE Centricity EMR's use of established standards not only paves the way for interoperability with other systems, but gives us the opportunity to easily participate in these emerging pay-for-performance programs."

GE Healthcare has actively participated in EHR certification since the creation of CCHIT by the private sector in 2004 and has continued its commitment by:

-- Co-founding the HIMSS Electronic Health Record Vendors Association (EHRVA), and rallying the support and collaboration of major EHR vendor companies.

-- Dedicating significant time, resources and subject matter expertise to serve on the various CCHIT workgroups.

-- Participating as one of the first EHRs tested during CCHIT's pilot program earlier this year.

"The combination of these efforts was vital to creating the certification process that will ultimately make the transformation of healthcare a reality," said Wanchoo.

Cox Health, a large integrated health system in Springfield, MO, has used integrated clinical and financial systems from GE - including the Centricity EMR - since 1996. "GE Healthcare's leadership and stability are further evidenced by the certification of their EMR by CCHIT," said Dan Sontheimer, MD, MBA, FAAFP, and Program Director, Cox Family Medicine Residency. "GE has an excellent history of promoting healthcare information technology standards within the Centricity EMR, and we appreciate their dedication to setting the pace of innovation in electronic medical records."

About CCHIT

CCHIT was founded in 2004 with support from three leading industry associations in healthcare information management and technology - The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and The National Alliance for Health Information Technology (Alliance). In September 2005, CCHIT was awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop, create prototypes for, and evaluate the certification criteria and inspection process for EHRs and the networks through which they interoperate. More information on CCHIT is available at www.cchit.org.

About GE Healthcare

GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, performance improvement, drug discovery, and biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies is helping clinicians around the world re-imagine new ways to predict, diagnose, inform and treat disease, so their patients can live their lives to the fullest.

GE Healthcare's broad range of products and services enable healthcare providers to better diagnose and treat cancer, heart disease, neurological diseases, and other conditions earlier. Our vision for the future is to enable a new "early health" model of care focused on earlier diagnosis, pre-symptomatic disease detection and disease prevention. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GE Healthcare is a $15 billion unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE). Worldwide, GE Healthcare employs more than 43,000 people committed to serving healthcare professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries. For more information about GE Healthcare, visit our website at www.gehealthcare.com.

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