Emory Healthcare innovation center adds major partners

Emory University Hospital in Decatur. SPECIAL Emory Healthcare
Emory University Hospital in Decatur. SPECIAL Emory Healthcare

Four major medical companies plan to announce Thursday that they have joined an innovation program at Emory Healthcare aimed at lowering health costs and improving patient care.

The companies will develop and refine new systems, from health information technology to mobile diagnostic tools, at Emory facilities across the metro area. Those new systems and products will be evaluated for clinical use, with the goal of more quickly bringing new advances to market, Dr. Scott Boden, Emory Healthcare vice president of business innovation, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an interview.

“What we’ve tried to do is curate the most pressing challenges in work flow and clinical health opportunities and bring in big businesses and startups to test technology to solve our problems,” Boden said. “We think because we’re going to be developing and testing and validating (technology) in a care-use environment, that that’s going to greatly accelerate the development timeline.”

The Emory Healthcare Innovation Hub launched last year with inaugural partners Sharecare and fellow investor 11 Ten Innovation Partners. On Wednesday, the system will announce the additions of medical imaging and diagnostic company Konica Minolta Healthcare, pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk, medical device maker Philips and medical and surgical equipment maker Stryker.

Universities and health systems have pushed to strengthen private-sector partnerships to recruit research dollars. Georgia Tech, for instance, has recruited businesses to Technology Square to tap into new sources of corporate investment and connect students with job opportunities.

Emory said the hub will address issues such as precision medicine, genetics, trauma, obesity and rural health access. Konica Minolta Healthcare, for instance, will test diagnostic tools and genetic screening processes for early cancer detection.

Boden said Emory planned to recruit three corporate partners by the end of this year. The four to be announced Thursday and Sharcaree bring the total to five corporate partners with three to four more still in talks to join.

The corporate partners have each signed multi-year commitments. The goal is not only to create devices that aid in care, speed up diagnoses and reduce costs, but also new processes that can streamline patient visits and allow practitioners to spend more time treating the sick than grappling with paperwork.

The corporations bring know-how and research dollars, while the hospital system provides facilities and the settings for real-world applications and the expertise of one of Southeast’s best-known health systems, Boden said.

Dr. Jonathan Lewin, the chairman, president and CEO of Emory Healthcare, said the partners will allow the hub “to leverage a technology and innovation ecosystem to validate ideas locally and positively affect the lives of people around the globe.”

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