GE Healthcare, the $19 billion healthcare arm of General Electric Co., is pushing further into B2B ecommerce.

Four years ago GE Healthcare, a manufacturer and distributor of equipment used in medical imaging and monitoring, bio-manufacturing, and cell and gene therapy technologies, launched GE Healthcare Service Shop as a log-in portal for hospitals and others to order spare and replacement parts.

Now the company has upgraded its GE Healthcare Service Shop with more product inventory and such website features as advanced site search and faster online parts reordering. Going forward, GE Healthcare Services Shop also will begin to carry medical equipment parts from other companies. The updates are all part of an ongoing effort to bring more ecommerce technology into healthcare purchasing by hospitals and health systems and to make the buying experience more “Amazon-like,” says Tim Erickson, GE Healthcare’s general manager of global asset returns and ecommerce.

Ramping up for more online buying

“We’re just scaling up,” he says. GE Healthcare is adding ecommerce tools and programs now because, as soon as 2022, hospitals in North America will be purchasing as much as 14.5% of all services, parts, and devices online, the company says.

Hospitals in the United States on average spend $3.8 million annually on supply expenses, says the Business School Alliance for Health Management. Given that 6,210 hospitals are operating in the U.S., total annual spending on healthcare supplies would mean hospitals collectively spend about $23.60 billion annually. Factoring in GE Healthcare’s projection of ecommerce accounting for as much as 14.5% of spending by 2022 would result in about $3.42 billion in annual online purchasing by hospitals.