GE Healthcare

GE Healthcare
Industry Healthcare
Founded 2004
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois, United States
Area served
Key people
John L. Flannery (CEO)[1]
Products X-ray, CT, MRI and ECG machines
Ultrasound Solutions
Bone Densitometry
Patient Monitoring
Incubators and Respiratory care systems
Services Medical equipment
Technology Solutions for Drug discovery and Biopharmaceuticals
Solutions for Clinicians and Health care Administrators
Revenue Increase US$ 14.85 billion (2014)
Increase US$ 2.67 billion (2014)
Number of employees
Parent General Electric

GE Healthcare is a subsidiary of General Electric (GE), formerly headquartered in Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom; in early 2016 headquarters were moved to Chicago.[2] The company provides medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, bio pharmaceutical manufacturing technologies and performance solutions services.


19th century

In 1893, C.F. Samms and J.B. Wantz founded the Victor Electric Company in a basement. By 1896 they made electrostatic generators for exciting x-ray tubes and electrotherapeutic devices.[3] They had a staff of six and a capital of $3,000 invested in the company.

Victor Electric[4] plunged into the x-ray business and by 1896 (one year after Roentgen’s discovery) were making x-ray machines. The business grew rapidly and so, in 1896, moved into new premises three times the original size, but this did not solve the space problems and the company made 3 moves by 1899.

Victor Electric had competitors. In 1896, G.A.Frye began making x-ray tubes, which in 1897 was purchased by Swett & Lewis as the first merger in the x-ray business.

20th century

During the first years, it was easier to keep up with the competition than space requirements. By 1903, Victor Electric had outgrown its facilities at 418 Dearborn St. in Chicago and bought two floors of a building at 55 Market Street, Chicago. This was again only a temporary stop; by 1910 it was too small and the firm moved again in 1911 to a building at the corner of Jackson Blvd. and Damen Avenue. This was the first permanent home of Victor Electric Co. They stayed there 35 years and during this time, gradually acquired all the space in the building and several around it.

During the first 20 years of the x-ray business, many new names appeared. In 1901 the Western Electric Coil Co. was formed. In 1902 MacAlaster & Wiggin purchased the x-ray tube business of Swett & Lewis. Two other companies were the Radio Electric Co., which was later to be known as Snook-Roentgen Manufacturing and the Scheidel Western X-Ray Coil Co. In 1907, Homer Clyde Snook introduced the Snook apparatus, the first interrupterless device produced for X-ray work. The Snook apparatus was manufactured in England.[5]

In 1916, the first significant merger took place, Scheidel Western, Snook-Roentgen, MacAlaster & Wiggin, and Victor Electric Co. were merged with Victor, the surviving name. Victor’s two founders had key roles in the new firm; C.F.Samms was company president and J.B.Wantz was Vice-President of manufacturing and engineering.

Four years later, in 1920, a second major merger was accomplished when Victor was acquired by General Electric [6] which was, at that time, the foremost manufacturer of x-ray tubes.

The marriage of Victor Electric and General Electric became complete of July 28, 1926 when Victor was declared a wholly owned affiliate of General Electric. The merger brought renewed vitality to the organization and Victor entered the foreign market with equipment sold and serviced in nearly 70 countries. In 1930, the name was changed from Victor to General Electric X-Ray Corporation.

World War II saw the dramatic use of x-rays in industry for non-destructive testing of war materials. It also saw the broad use of x-rays as a medical tool for military services.

As the war ended, GE X-Ray Corporation continued to grow. Greater production capacity and greater expertise was needed in the core business of building X-ray tubes. Since the tubes were made from hand-blown glass, the decision was made to move the company 90 miles north to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in order to tap into the enormous amount of glass-blowing talent in Milwaukee's beer-brewing industry. The company moved from Jackson Blvd. in Chicago to a 43-acre (170,000 m2) site in the city of West Milwaukee, which had been used for building turbochargers during the war. The street in front was renamed Electric Avenue, and the General Electric X-Ray Corporation had a new home in 1947.

In 1951, the corporate structure was dissolved and the name changed to General Electric x-Ray Department. This new name lasted less than 10 years as the department divested itself of its industrial x-ray business, widened its medical business, and took on the name of GE Medical Systems Department. One of the reasons for the name of Medical Systems was due to the increase in the electro-medical business, which began in 1961 with the introduction of patient monitoring equipment. By 1967 modular equipment was developed which was soon popular in cardiac and intensive care units. Early in 1960, pacemakers were developed in Corporate Research & Development in Schenectady, New York, and in 1969 the Standby Pacemaker was developed.

In 1968, the Biomedical Business Section opened its first factory in Edgerton Avenue. Late in 1970 a surgical package was introduced and in 1971, equipment to monitor blood gasses during surgery was introduced.

Later in 1971, Biomedical opened a 9,000 square meter admin and engineering building opposite its factory and in 1972, the section was renamed The cardio-Surgical Product Section. With the growth of its medical business, the General Electric Company upgraded the department to The Medical Systems Division in 1971. Also in 1971, a major expansion programme was started and the Waukesha factory was planned. Work started in July 1972, and was completed in 1973.

In 1973, work on CT was started and eventually the first CT machine was installed in 1976. Development continued to the first CT 8800, and after long negotiations, GE acquired the medical division of EMI Group Ltd. in late 1980 soon after the 1979 takeover of EMI medicial division by Thorn Electric company.[7] The Americal Anti-Trust Authorities stopped the takeover in the USA however, and the EMI factory in Chicago was bought up by Omni-Medical, who continued to make CTs for a number of years.

Meanwhile, back at GE, the Patient Monitoring Department was sold off in 1981. The initial boost provided by the EMI takeover turned into the doldrums as Reaganomics sent the US dollar soaring, so in 1984 GE bought a 49% share of YMS (Yokogawa Medical Systems), a Japanese company.

YMS proceeded to produce high-quality, low-cost diagnostic equipment for the world market with astounding energy, producing new CT models with a speed that was (and still remains) hard to match.

In 1983, GE Medical started investing heavily in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology, investing nearly 1 billion US dollars in a new plant in Waukesha, and the MR Signa was born, which would go on to become the very successful MR model range. The magnet plant in Florence (USA) was opened a short time later, giving GE its own magnet production. In the same year, GE divested its dental x-ray division to form Gendex Dental Systems.

In 1985 GE acquired Technicare from Johnson and Johnson. Originally named Ohio Nuclear (and in 1979, after another fusion, Ohio Nuclear Unirad), the name was changed to Technicare in 1982. Technicare (with headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio) had been producing a range of rotate-stationary CTs with an installed base in the thousands, as well as some x-ray diagnostic equipment and a nascent MRI product range.

Up to this time, the medical Systems Division had simply been divided into domestic and international, but in 1987 it was decided to re-organize into the three “poles” of America, Europe and Pacific. In 1988, GE Medical Europe merged with CGR (a medical equipment supplier based in France) to form General Electric CGR Medical Systems. The European headquarters were moved from Hammersmith (UK) to Buc near Paris.

In 1992, GE had a setback after long negotiations to buy Picker International, who were a major producer of CT and MR equipment. The deal was not approved by the American authorities, and so GE just bought the Picker Service organization in the U.K., leaving the rest of Picker intact.

In 1994, it was decided to change the name in Europe from GE-CGR back to General Electric Medical Systems. At the close of 1998, GE Medical acquired the Nuclear and MR businesses of Elscint, (then a division of Elron, based in Haifa, Israel), the CT business being bought by Picker, and in the same year Marquette Medical Systems became a wholly owned subsidiary of GE Medical.[8] In 1998, GE medical bought Diasonics Vingmed Ltd. from Elbit Medical Imaging (of Haifa, Israel), thus expanding its ultrasound imaging business.[9]

21st century

Packaging radioactive pharmaceuticals at GE Healthcare's facility in Amersham, England.

In 2001, GE Medical Systems acquired San Francisco, CA based CT maker Imatron, Inc for $210 million. Imatron produced an Electron beam tomography (EBT) scanner that performs imaging applications used by physicians specializing in cardiology, pulmonology and gastroenterology. The formal Imatron business was later incorporated into GE Healthcare's Diagnostic Imaging business segment. In early 2002, GE Healthcare had acquired MedicaLogic (creator of the former Logician, an ambulatory Electronic Medical Records system) for approximately $32 million.[10] By Jan 2003, GE acquired Millbrook Corporation, maker of Millbrook Practice Manager, a billing and scheduling system for doctors offices.[11] GE Healthcare IT would later merge the two products into a single PM/EMR solution, although the stand-alone EMR product is still available and in development. Also in April 2002, GE Healthcare completed the acquisition of Visualization Technology, Inc., Boston, MA; a manufacturer of intra-operative medical devices and related products for use in minimally invasive image guided surgery.[12] In 2003, GE Healthcare acquired Instrumentarium (including its Datex-Ohmeda division), a producer, manufacturer, and supplier of anesthesia machines and mechanical ventilators. To satisfy regulatory concerns in the United States and in Europe, GE Healthcare was forced to divest Instrumentarium’s Ziehm Imaging[13] mobile C-arm business, as well as its Spacelabs patient-monitoring unit. Currently, GE Healthcare owns 80% of all anesthesia machines in the United States and 60% of the machines in the world. The former Instrumentarium business was incorporated into GE Healthcare's Clinical Systems business segment.

In 2004, the former Amersham plc business segments were separated into the GE Healthcare Medical Diagnostics and Life Sciences business segments and 1 May 2013, both the business were combined again under the GE Life Sciences brand with Kieran Murphy taking the leadership role. Also in 2004, GE Healthcare along with other healthcare companies built a research reactor for neutron and unit cell research at GE's European Research Center near Garching (outside of Munich), Germany. It is the only such reactor currently in operation. In 2005, Sir William Castell, CEO of GE Healthcare and former CEO of Amersham plc stepped down as CEO to become Chairman of the Wellcome Trust—a charity that fosters and promotes human and animal research—in the United Kingdom. Former GE Medical Systems CEO Joe Hogan became the overall CEO for the GE Healthcare business. In 2005, Dental Imaging operations were separated from GE Healthcare. The PaloDEx Group Oy was founded and continues the business with its subsidiaries Instrumentarium Dental and SOREDEX. Specifically, Instrumentarium Dental continues the brands Orthopantomograph and intraoral systems FOCUS and SIGMA, formerly known as Instrumentarium Imaging or GE Healthcare products.[14] [15] In September 2005, GE Healthcare and IDX Systems Corporation announced that they entered into a definitive, $1.2 billion merger agreement for GE to acquire IDX, a leading healthcare information technology (IT) provider. The acquisition was completed in January 2006. IDX was folded into GE Healthcare Integrated IT Solutions, which specializes in clinical information systems and healthcare revenue management.

On 4 February 2008, GE Healthcare announced that it has completed the acquisition of Whatman plc (LSE:WHM), a global supplier of filtration products and technologies at 270p per share in cash for each Whatman share, valuing Whatman at approximately £363 million (approximately $713 million.) In July 2008, Joseph Hogan announced his intent to leave his post as CEO of GE Healthcare to take the role of CEO at ABB.[16] On July 17, 2008, GE Healthcare announced John Dineen had been chosen to replace outgoing CEO Joseph Hogan. Mr. Dineen had been head of GE's Transportation division since 2005.[17] On March 24, 2010, GE Healthcare announced acquisition of MedPlexus.[18][19] In late April, 2010, GE Healthcare announced it was investing €3 million in the Technology Research for Independent Living Centre (TRIL).[20] The Irish centre seeks to enhance independence for elderly people through technological innovation.

In July 2015, GE Healthcare partnered with the 2015 CrossFit Games to provide athletes with mobile imaging equipment.[21]

In January 2016, it was announced GE Healthcare's global headquarters will move to Chicago effective early 2016.[22][23]


According to The Independent the firm has received more money back in tax benefits (£1.6 million) in the UK over the past 12 years than it has paid in. Its UK operations are all ultimately owned by a holding company in the Netherlands. Tax paid was £250,000, 1.7% of its £14.3m profit. The group employs 22,000 people in the UK.[24]


GE Healthcare has a range of products and services that include medical imaging and information technologies, electronic medical records, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, and biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies. GE Healthcare consists of 9 primary business units:[25]

While it has offices around the globe, GE Healthcare has major regional operations in Buc (suburb of Paris), France; Helsinki, Finland; Budaors(suburb of Budapest), Hungary; Yizhuang (suburb of Beijing), China; Hino & Tokyo, Japan and Bangalore, India.

Its biggest R&D centre is in Bangalore, India, built at a cost of $50 million.[29]

Major competitors

Major competitors of GE Healthcare include:[30]


  1. "GE: John L. Flannery". GE. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  2. Ray, Justin (11 Jan 2016). "GE Healthcare Moving Global Headquarters to Chicago". Retrieved 11 Jan 2016.
  3. Alcorn, Franklin (1995), Radiology in Illinois, Chicago Radiological Society, retrieved 2013-06-26
  4. Victor X-ray Corporation Glass Lantern Slide Collection (PDF), Oregon Health & Science University, Historical Collections & Archives, retrieved 2013-06-26
  5. Knox, Robert. (1917). Radiography and Radio-therapeutics: Radiography. Macmillan.
  6. Samm, C.F. (2 Dec 1920). "Announcement of Merging of Victor Electric Corporation with X-Ray interests of General Electric Company" (PDF). Boston Medical and Surgical Journal.
  7. "a brief history of CT". Retrieved 7 Jan 2015.
  8. Elbit sells off Elscint businesses through deals with Picker and GE Diagnostic Imaging September 16, 1998
  9. "GE Medical acquires Diasonics Vingmed". BizJournal. April 9, 1998.
  10. Brennan, Terry (2002-03-19). "GE Medical wins MedicaLogic assets". The Deal. Retrieved 2013-02-20.
  11. "GE Medical snaps up Millbrook.".
  12. Company Overview of Visualization Technology, Inc., Bloomberg Businessweek, retrieved 2013-02-20
  14. The PaloDEx Group’s history, Finland: PaloDEx Group Oy, retrieved 2013-02-20
  15. Instrumentarium News and Events, archived from the original on November 12, 2008
  16. ABB appoints Joseph Hogan as new CEO, 2008-07-17, retrieved 2013-02-20
  17. John M. Dineen, Bloomberg Businessweek, retrieved 2013-02-20
  18. Company Overview of MedPlexus, Inc., Bloomberg Businessweek, retrieved 2013-02-20
  19. "GE Eyes Physician Practices with MedPlexus Purchase", Healthcare Informatics, Vendome Healthcare Media, March 24, 2010, retrieved 2013-02-20
  20. Hoeksma, Jon (April 28, 2010), "GE Healthcare invests in Ireland's TRIL", EHealth Insider, EHealth Media Limited, retrieved 2013-06-26
  21. Lauren Dubinsky (July 20, 2015). "GE supplies 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games with C-arm". Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  24. "GE Healthcare: US healthcare giant makes fortune from NHS but pays hardly a penny in tax". Belfast Telegraph. 23 January 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  25. GE Healthcare Fact Sheet, GE Healthcare, 2014, retrieved 2014-12-22
  26. Vishal Wanchoo, President and CEO, Integrated IT Solutions, GE Healthcare (PDF), GE Healthcare, retrieved 2013-06-26
  29. "The world turned upside down". The Economist. 15 April 2010.
  30. Freudenheim, Milt (28 November 2000). "G.E.'S NEXT LEADER: THE TRAINING GROUND; Success Built On Selling Imaging Gear". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
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