CLEVELAND — In late July, we hosted the inaugural Ohio HealthTech Summit. Co-presented by our respective organizations, OhioX and University Hospitals Ventures, it brought together some of the best minds our state has to offer in healthcare innovation.
The summit came at an important moment. The United States is now responsible for 40% of all global health spending. However, life expectancy for Americans fell to 76.6 years in 2021 — the lowest in at least 25 years — from 78.9 years in 2019. And, of course, we’ve been battling COVID-19 for more than two years.
We urgently need bigger, bolder healthcare innovation. And Ohio has come forward to deliver.
Our state has a unique opportunity to lead the next great healthcare innovation revolution. To do this, collaboration and investment are the keys.
Let’s start by framing Ohio’s opportunity this way: Silicon Valley, the undisputed center of technological innovation, is not a city, but a region. Its institutions and companies are born, built and operate in numerous cities in the Bay Area.
Ohio is much the same. Our cities are sprawling and unique, but when you combine the power of Ohio’s hospitals, health care systems and research centers, it’s simply amazing.
Perhaps the greatest examples, combining collaboration and investment, are the three Innovation Districts in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. Led by JobsOhio, the state of Ohio, and local partners in each city, this is a $3 billion investment to position Ohio as a global leader in health care, life sciences and technology. It’s a great model of nationwide strategic strategy with local focus and execution.
In Cleveland, we see the power of the collaboration between University Hospitals and Axuall, a Cleveland health technology startup that empowers healthcare leaders to make better, faster decisions to meet patient demands, improve economic efficiency and reduce provider burnout.
Axuall and University Hospitals have been working, in partnership, since 2019 to develop the Axuall Clinic Data Network, providing insights into network planning, analytics and reporting, dramatically reducing login and registration time through credentials digital enabled by the provider. Since the start of the commercial launch in early 2021, Axuall has secured over 50,000 verified elements of data on behalf of over 4200 doctors of the University Hospital. For these doctors, Axuall gives them a single place to manage and monitor their digital credentials, enabling them to play a central role. Leveraging primary source verified data from our network, the technology reduces form entry by up to 90%.
A 2021 published case study summarizing data collected from interviews with eight large health systems, including Advocate Aurora Health, Banner Health, ChristianaCare, Duke Health, RWJ Barnabas Health, Sharp HealthCare, Spectrum Health and University Hospitals, it also highlights the projected return on investment. in University Hospitals based on data collected from our 2020 pilot.
But cooperation is only one key. It takes money to innovate. Historically, tech companies had to be offshore to get funding, but that’s changing. In 2021, Ohio tech startups raised $2.4 billion, which broke state records — more than double the previous high in 2020.
In Columbus, check out Forge Biologics, a venture capital-backed gene therapy development engine focused on accelerating access to potentially life-saving (AAV) gene therapies. Forge made headlines in 2021 when it announced a $120 million Series B, which was the largest in Ohio history.
Their funding and the work they’re doing is putting Ohio on the map.
Healthcare innovations literally save lives and give society the most impactful creations, but they are expensive ventures. Ohio has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to establish Silicon Heartland as the beating heart of America’s healthcare industry. Increased cooperation and investment will make this possible.
Chris Berry is the president and CEO of OhioX, a statewide nonprofit technology association. David Sylvan is president of University Hospitals Ventures, the innovation and commercialization platform serving University Hospitals Health System.
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