BOSTON - General Electric Cosaid on Thursday it plans to invest $6 billion by 2015 to lower the cost of healthcare, in a push the U.S. conglomerate is calling Healthymagination.

The drive will focus on research and development of new technologies to cut by 15 percent the cost of using GE's CT-scan machines and other devices. It also aims to help U.S. health providers reach another 100 million patients per year.

This reflects the new opportunities we see in healthcare, said Jeff Immelt, chief executive of GE, whose rivals in medical imaging include Philips (PHG.AS), Siemens AG (SIEGn.DE) and Toshiba Corp (6502.T).

Immelt compared the initiative to GE's Ecomagination green-business push, which it launched four years ago and last year sold $17 billion of wind turbines, compact-flourescent lightbulbs and other energy-saving devices.

The Fairfield, Connecticut-based company also plans to provide $2 billion in financing to help rural U.S. doctors and hospitals phase in electronic medical record systems. (Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Derek Caney)