Michael Barber

VP, healthymagination, GE International
Waukesha, WI, United States

About Michael

Bio

Michael J. Barber is a GE Officer and the VP of GE's healthymagination business strategy on global health. The healthymagination charter is (by 2015) to improve the quality of care by 15% or more, reduce the cost of procedures and processes through the appropriate use of GE technologies and services by 15% and increase access to technologies and services essential to health by 15%.

Prior to this position Barber, a 30 year GE veteran, was Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for GE Healthcare, leading a technology team of more than 7,000 engineers, technologists and scientists working in diverse fields such as MRI, CT, ultrasound, patient monitoring, anesthesia, life sciences, imaging contrast agents and health-related R&D at GE Healthcare. Healthcare’s revenue totals over $17B and the company spends over $1B annually for R&D.

Barber started with GE in 1982 and has had a variety of roles in engineering, operations and product management. As the Manager of the Digital X-ray Detector Platform, Barber led a team that eliminated the need for film in X-ray procedures. Barber holds patents for novel X-ray system designs and has been directly involved with many product advances in the field of diagnostic imaging.

When Barber was selected to lead healthymagination in June 2009, GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt remarked “Over the last four years, Mike has led all aspects of product development for advanced healthcare technologies. Mike knows how our technology can help patients. He knows what doctors, clinics and hospitals need to improve care and cut costs and he knows how to lead teams. With his deep experience in engineering and technology and his strong operations and process-driven expertise, Mike is the right leader to lead healthymagination and to grow our healthcare partnerships globally.”

Comments & conversations

118415
Michael Barber
Posted about 4 years ago
A conversation with GE: Why do we avoid making tough health choices? And, what could motivate us to behave differently?
Conor – It’s nice to see a fellow GE employee participating in this conversation on patient behavior. I hope your father is doing well. We often have the “carrot” and “stick” discussion within GE, as you know. Do you incentivize people by paying them a cash bonus for going to the gym? Or do you charge them $10 for their hamburger in the work cafeteria and $3 for their salad? You know as a GE employee that through our internal health initiative – HealthAhead – we’ve focused on helping employees improve the way they eat, work and live through both carrot and stick approaches. For example, by the end of 2010, 120 out of 295 GE-owned-and-operated campuses were tobacco-free. What I’ve taken away from our HealthAhead initiative is that employers can help set the tone for their employees. If good health is a priority in the workspace, these habits will translate into the home. We hope this will have a lasting impact on the individual employees and their families.
118415
Michael Barber
Posted about 4 years ago
A conversation with GE: Why do we avoid making tough health choices? And, what could motivate us to behave differently?
Good afternoon, TED community. I wanted to share with you all something exciting happening with GE in the healthcare space. Today in New York City, we are hosting our first-ever Health Gaming Summit. It is a deep dive into how social gaming, personal tech and mobile devices can catalyze innovative behavior change and foster greater engagement for everyone. Our summit brings together thought leaders in personalized healthcare, sensor and mobile technology -- the leading minds among policymakers, entrepreneurs and technology developers. The event features a talent roster of pioneers in the space including Ben Sawyer, the co-founder of Digitalmill, John de Souza, CEO and President of MedHelp International, Inc. and medhelp.org and Steven Wardell, Vice President of Marketing at Mednetworks, Inc. Gaming is re-shaping the healthcare space as we know it – from academia to the way we consume personal health data. We are beginning to see a trend in marrying data with everyday products, allowing us to gather information seamlessly, without disrupting our lifestyle. With these advances in technology, we can actually make patients smarter. This is where it gets exciting. As patients become better armed with information through technology, we will see the patient/doctor relationship evolve into something more meaningful and efficient. Our goal for today’s summit is to explore this new space, to discover new ways to effect change through personal technology and to play our part within this healthcare revolution.
118415
Michael Barber
Posted about 4 years ago
A conversation with GE: Why do we avoid making tough health choices? And, what could motivate us to behave differently?
I couldn't agree with you more about the importance of teaching healthy lifestyles in our education system. For five years now, GE Healthcare has supported Dr. Olajide Williams, MD, MS, a neurologist at Harlem Hospital. Better known as the "Hip Hop Doc," he is the founder of the Hip-Hop Public Health Education Center, which uses hip-hop to teach school children (and their families) about health. Hip Hop H.E.A.L.S (Healthy Eating and Living in Schools) is Dr. William's program that educates children about health at their schools. The Hip Hop H.E.A.L.S program works to prevent disease in school-aged children which are mainly caused by unhealthy eating and lack of exercise. With the help of all-stars like Doug E. Fresh and Chuck D., Hip Hop H.E.A.L.S was created to empower kids about these issues through professionally produced hip-hop music, hip-hop video games, cartoons, choreographed dance moves, and comic books that all focus on nutrition and exercise. The goal is to help lower rates of obesity in Harlem and help prevent the other diseases that are associated with unhealthy lifestyle choices such as diabetes and high blood pressure (hypertension). The program has been successful in Harlem and now reaches 12,000 New York City school kids a year. Last month we joined Dr. Williams and his team in Harlem to celebrate the 3rd Annual Hip Hop Public Health Summit and the release of “Hip Hop Health Vol. 1,” a compilation of educational rap songs for kids which cover a wide-range of health issues, including “Stroke Ain’t No Joke,” “Exercise and Be Calorie Wise” and “Go Slow Whoa,” a song that groups foods into easy-to-follow stoplight commands. You can check out some highlights from the summit here: http://www.gereports.com/doug-e-fresh-chuck-d-and-the-hip-hop-doc-celebrate-health-in-harlem/. Learning about health early in life and developing good habits will have a big impact on our healthcare system in the long run.
118415
Michael Barber
Posted about 4 years ago
A conversation with GE: Why do we avoid making tough health choices? And, what could motivate us to behave differently?
Erika - You have hit on two challenging health industry issues: wellness and the doctor/patient relationship. Regarding the first one, I like what I see in some spaces online today in terms of helping people make healthy choices. Two companies that we’ve collaborated with over the past few years are MedHelp and HealthLine. Both do an excellent job creating tools that provide good health information as well as steps you should take to better manage your health. MedHelp has created apps that encourage good choices around sleep, nutrition and fitness and HealthLine has created BodyMaps -- an interactive tool that can guide people through what is going on inside the body during different conditions. The concept of gaming in the health space has a lot of potential. GE is actually hosting a summit on health gaming in NYC next week, which I look forward to joining. On the topic of the doctor/patient relationship, we recently sponsored a related study, which launched at the Vancouver Olympics. Some of the results were thought-provoking. For example, 77% of healthcare professionals said that one fourth or more of their patients have lied to them about their health. More people knew how many vacation days they had left (47%) than how many calories they’d consumed yesterday (43%). At the link here, you can click through a data visualization that outlines all of the findings: http://www.healthymagination.com/projects/better-health-study/. We collaborated with WebMD on this topic to develop an interactive tool that guides the patient though what questions/dialogue they should be having with their physician.
118415
Michael Barber
Posted about 4 years ago
A conversation with GE: Why do we avoid making tough health choices? And, what could motivate us to behave differently?
Hi Bruce – Really interesting thoughts here. We’re working on one project that might interest you – an experiment along the lines of developing a community-wide consortium of employers, payers, providers and patients who are focused on reducing costs, raising quality and increasing access to healthcare. In Cincinnati, where GE has a major presence, more than 12 percent of its population lacks health insurance, the mortality rate is higher than average and annual health spending increases have been averaging eight percent. In early 2010, GE coordinated with community leaders and other local corporations to catalyze citywide approaches to reducing costs and improving quality of and access to care. The community’s goal is to drive $1 billion of cost out of the system – while improving outcomes – by 2014. It’s been a marathon – not a sprint. Even though we like to see progress quarter-by-quarter at GE, we realize that it takes time to drive real change. In Cincinnati, it took creating an executive stakeholder board, agreeing on a set of metrics, developing incentive plans for Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH), creating patient engagement portals and there is more to come, but the needle is moving. The question we’re asking ourselves now is how to repeat this model in other communities.