During the past 12 months, Siemens and General Electric each invested several billion dollars to acquire in vitro diagnostic (IVD) companies. Snatched up by Siemens were Diagnostic Products Corp. and Bayer Diagnostics. General Electric has signed an agreement to purchase Abbott Laboratories Diagnostics in a deal expected to close within the next month.

By acquiring major IVD companies, both Siemens and General Electric have sent an unmistakable message. It is their expectation that the future of diagnostic medicine lies in the effective integration of imaging and in vitro diagnostics. Since both radiology and laboratory medicine generate scads of data, in recent years each company has acquired a vendor selling laboratory information systems (LIS). In the case of Siemens, it was Shared Medical Systems (SMS). General Electric acquired Triple G Systems. Further, both companies own EMR (electronic medical record) systems designed for use by office-based physicians.

Dark Daily believes it is not a coincidence that Siemens and General Electric are building almost identical capabilities to offer services that include imaging, IVD, software to handle data from imaging and laboratory testing, along with EMR and practice management software for office-based physicians. In classic economics, this is a strategy of horizontal integration. Wikipedia describes horizontal integration as “a strategy used by a business or corporation that seeks to sell a type of product in numerous markets.”

By that definition, Siemens and General Electric are building the components needed to provide diagnostic services to all segments of the healthcare market. Their goal is to integrate in vivo and in vitro diagnostics. They are assembling products that will be used by radiologists and pathologists to evaluate the patient and provide a diagnosis. This information will then be made available to referring clinicians and other relevant parts of the healthcare system.

So far, both Siemens and General Electric have offered few details about how their vision of integrated diagnostics will alter laboratory medicine as we know it today. That will change on Friday, May 10, 2007. On that day, Dave Hickey, Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Planning for Siemens Medical Solutions Diagnostics, will make a major speech at the Executive War College on Laboratory and Pathology Management. He will discuss “Full Service Diagnostics: The Coming Convergence of Imaging, Informatics, and In Vitro Diagnostics (IVD).”

Lab directors and pathologists have an opportunity to be first to learn why and how Siemens intends to integrate imaging, in vitro diagnostics, and healthcare informatics to provide clinicians with a full diagnostic report. Dark Daily considers it of particular interest that Siemens has talked about integrating these technologies in such a way as to allow physicians to diagnose disease when the patient is pre-symptomatic.

And if diagnosing patients who are pre-symptomatic isn’t radical enough, think about the implications of integrating radiology services with anatomic pathology! Traditionally, these are two medical specialties which have carefully guarded their scope of practice. Now two of healthcare’s largest companies are both committing billions of dollars to foster integration of radiology and pathology. These are reasons why Dave Hickey’s presentation at the upcoming Executive War College will provide useful insight and help guide strategic planning at pathology groups across the country.

You can get more details about Dave Hickey, his presentation, and the full Executive War College program at http://www.executivewarcollege.com. Make your plans now to see and hear Dave Hickey discuss how Siemens intends to integrate radiology and laboratory testing so you can prepare your laboratory for upcoming changes.
PS: To get the latest news and effective strategies dealing with new trends, join us in Miami on May 10-11, 2007 for the 12th Annual Executive War College. You can access the full details using the links below. Take action today to reserve your place.

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