GE Healthcare is going all-in on software.
The division employs about 5,000 software engineers right now, which make up 10% of GE Healthcare’s total employment.
GE Healthcare CEO John Flannery told Business Insider he expects that number to double over the next several years. That will be both internally and in partnership with other players, Flannery said.
GE Healthcare is probably best known for its hardware — its imaging machines such as MRIs and ultrasounds — but over the past few years the company has made a push toward digitization.
The hiring effort is part of this broader plan, with GE Healthcare planning to invest $US500 million in software and software engineers in 2018.
Flannery said the new employees will be building out a kind of “app store” for Predix, GE’s cloud formula. That way, both GE software engineers and other organisations can build medical apps on the platform.
“We’ll be hiring software engineers, data analysts, imaging analysts, to develop our own apps, but also to develop the platform and the capability of the platform to host hundreds of other applications,” Flannery told Business Insider.
GE is also putting its software engineers to work making hospital IT systems more efficient. The plan is to connect different systems within a hospital to create a “command center.”
GE did this for Johns Hopkins, Flannery said, linking about two-dozen systems to help speed up the experience for patients so there’s less unnecessary waiting around.
The move by GE Healthcare is part of a broader push by GE to turn itself in to a digital industrial company. In 2015, it ran a national TV advertising campaign focusing on a character called Owen who got a job at as a developer at GE.