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Economic Development, Biotech and Research Come Together for Innovation at BIO 2012

If you missed BIO 2012, you missed a lot.  The public and private sector came together this week on Boston to examine innovation opportunities to promote economic growth through collaborative research and development projects.  The event drew 16,505 industry leaders from 49 states and 65 countries.  Boston was host to universities, researchers, state, local and federal government economic development representatives, clinicians and private industries.  This was science at its best at a truly global event.  Discussions around where the biotech industry is going and how pharma is changing took center stage most of the week.

A positive trend was noted in a special state of bioscience development report that analyzes state and national biotech employment patterns. Despite job losses in the U.S. private sector, it showed that US biotech industry actually added jobs between 2001 and 2010.  Throughout the week multiple conversations and meetings took place discussing how the ability to collaborate was a key element to attracting biotech projects.  Many countries visited the Cisco booth to discover what they needed to do to create an infrastructure to welcome biotech development. How can governments work together with biotech companies to produce and atmosphere that welcomes and fosters innovation?

 

 

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The New Rules of Patient Engagement

Last year Ernst & Young coined the term ‘Pharma 3.0’ describing an ecosystem where healthcare innovation shifts from being product centric to an outcomes focus.  This market transition has come as a result of the generally recognized lack of a sustainable model in global healthcare concurrent with rapid advancements in healthcare technology.  This paradigm shift has created multiple transitions in the healthcare market, including how products come to market and how corporate enterprises mobilize their resources.  It has also has opened the door for traditional biotech and pharm companies to invest in non-drug innovations like Smartphone Apps and offering services aimed at improving overall health outcomes through disease management and coordinated care.  This is happening at a time when patients are becoming more informed and more engaged with managing their healthcare decisions.

Speaking on a panel at BIO 2012 in Boston this week, Robert Prachar, senior vice president at Endo Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc., stated that there is an abundance of information out there, but “The question becomes how we build decision-support systems that are patient- and physician-friendly rather than just whatever flows to the top in a Google search? Anyway you cut it, we are still in an employment-based health care system…If we start to deliver coordinated care that works, people will pay for that.”

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Is Your Hospital Going Broke from Poor Communication?

A few years ago I surveyed around 500 hospital employees in all job categories and departments and asked what the biggest challenge to their workday was.  Three of the top six responses contained “communication”.  So today when I was reading an AHA report[1] on patient flow I was not at all surprised to see communication winning the top prize as the most pervasive and the hardest problem to fix -- taking 60% of the votes.  It outpaced the second runner up -- visibility to data – which came in with only 30% of the votes.

 “There is strong agreement that communications is the most difficult obstacle to overcome”

-AHA Report of the 2012 Patient Flow Challenges

Dr. Daniel Z Sands

Communication concerns were seen to impact discharge, inefficient patient handoffs and insufficient post-discharge contact with patients.  This is consistent with another study done by the University of Maryland on the impact of inefficient and poor communication, finding that U.S. hospitals conservatively waste over $12 billion annually as a result of communication inefficiency among care providers.  Interestingly, the study linked communication issues with increases in the length of hospital stays which has a direct impact on profitability – accounting for nearly 53 percent of that $12 billion annual economic burden.

Another study by Thompson Reuters demonstrated an indirect relationship between average length of stay (ALOS) and operating income -- the shorter the ALOS, the better the operating income[2].

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Broadband: Exploring the Demographic Patterns

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Broadband wireless technology has no doubt had an impact on enterprise productivity — the ability for companies to provide anytime, anywhere access to both data and colleagues means faster response time and the competitive advantage that brings.

But we sometimes focus more on the corporate impact than the impact it has on personal lives as well — and not just the ability of teenagers to text or celebrities to tweet.

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The Power of In-Person takes Healthcare to New Levels

My last doctor’s visit, I sat in the office for about an hour past my scheduled appointment before being called into the back.  I grumbled about the service, how my time was wasted, and how typical this was of the industry.  These are the things we all love to hate about the doctor; they seem to always be running behind schedule, and they have completely illegible handwriting.  These are also the things we take for granted, living in or nearby a city with easy access to care.

Imagine, however, you live in the rural part of your state, which represents “about 20 percent of America’s population,” and yet “less than ten percent of physicians practice in those communities” according to the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) (2011), linked with the Department of Health and Human Services.  Your complaints would likely extend beyond the waiting room, and certainly carry much more weight. 

With its partnership with Cisco, the Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth (GPT) was able to transform the way their state practices medicine, giving healthcare access to the underprivileged and underserved populations whose needs were being overlooked.  Local doctors can consult with specialists in the city center; children can receive psychological care through high quality video; and a person suffering from a stroke can be assessed by a neurologist in a matter of minutes in order to receive the proper medication to avoid further damage.  

With the power of in-person via Cisco TelePresence, GPT has not only implemented a system that has made the lives of Georgians easier, setting the bar high for healthcare providers across the United States, but they have changed the lives of their doctors too.  Georgia’s doctors and specialists can extend their reach while remaining close to top Universities and research centers, honing their practice to deliver better care.  

 Read more about Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth here.

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