The crux of the new program, announced Thursday, will be a renewed focus on bringing technology and health care together in a way that, according to GE, lowers cost, increases access and improves quality for people all over the world. The company has committed $6 billion to the effort, including $3 billion for research and development; $2 billion for information technology development in rural and under-served areas; and $1 billion for partnership, content and services.
In a printed-fact sheet, GE described the Healthymagination initiative as its "second growth pillar for taking on tough global challenges like the need for cleaner energy and better health care."
"We saw the same type of tipping point four years ago when we launched our successful environmental initiative, Ecomagination," said GE CEO Jeff Immelt in a statement. "We learned that technical innovation can drive solutions and value for customers, investors, employees and the public. We will bring the same integrated approach to health care, focusing all our expertise, labor and imagination on its success."
GE announced the program with a three-page advertising insert in The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times on Thursday. The front page of the insert, titled "Manifesto," shows a cartoon talk balloon with a question mark in it, and the text: "It's the most valuable thing on earth. All the money in the world can't buy it. Those who have it don't always appreciate it. Those who've lost it will do anything to get it back. What is it?"
The second page of the insert explains the Healthymagination initiative and its three tenets: Reduce Costs, Increase Access, Improve Quality. And outlining the end result: "By Keeping People Well, We All Do Well." (The answer to the riddle, by the way, is "health.")
Subsequent print ads will include photographs of people in their lives (such as a child burying his father in sand on a beach) and the commitment to "helping people live better" and "helping doctors save 3,000 lives."
A TV commercial, scheduled to run on MSNBC, NBC (both GE properties) and CNN, follows a similar theme of people living their lives intercut with shots of medical professionals doing their jobs. On-screen titles tell of the company's commitment to bring affordable health care to 100 million Americans, saving $20 billion by creating electronic medical records and other innovations that will lower costs and improve quality. "Innovation today for America's tomorrow," reads the ad before leading into GE's corporate tagline, "Imagination at Work." Included in the initiative will be expanded health coverage on NBC properties, such as the "NBC Nightly News," "Today Show," "Meet the Press," and MSNBC. The cable news network will also launch a daily program in June dedicated solely to health information. NBC News Chief Medical Editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman will anchor the show, which will cover everything from health and wellness tips and medical breakthroughs to in-depth looks at health policy. Snyderman will also have a presence on the women-targeted iVillage online community.
NBC Universal will make health and wellness the focus of its "The More You Know" public service campaign for 2009-10.