Tom Gentile: Imaging, imagination and innovation

Tom Gentile, CEO and President of GE Healthcare Systems, believes that innovation is in his company’s blood.

“With a founder like Thomas Edison, we obviously have to be innovative,” Gentile says. “We have to keep running every day to make sure we’re keeping up with state-of-the-art technology.”

Gentile devoted his C2-MTL presentation to the innovations GE is making in the field of breast cancer. As he points out, breast cancer screening is currently controversial. Dense breast tissue, which 40% of women have, can hide tumours, and mammography can miss up to 30% of cancers.

But as Gentile notes, “other types of imaging tools can take a look at the same tissue and see different things.” Ultrasound and contrast enhanced spectral mammography are some of the tools GE is developing that have the potential to be more effective.

GE is also developing the Sensory Suite, a screening room that gives patients more control over the process. “We’re very process-oriented… we can’t help ourselves, it’s in our DNA,” Gentile explains. “It’s never going to be pleasant, but we want to make it an acceptable experience.”

The culture of innovation at GE is constantly ongoing, and ambitious. “We’re working on tools today that are going to improve patient care, improve patient comfort, and productivity in the hospitals,” says Gentile, who describes GE’s devotion to innovating as three-pronged. “We innovate in technology, hardware, software; in the process; and in terms of the patient experience. It’s all to reach better outcomes, more survivors, because it really is all about the patient.”