The Greater St. Louis Medical Group Management Association is pleased to launch a partnership with the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society (SLMMS). This partnership will feature the sharing of information in publications and on our websites.
Thanks to Melony Tanko and Michael Tan for sharing the following article.
Health Care Innovation in St. Louis
As a nation, we are currently pushing the boundaries of health care. We’ve entered an age of unparalleled innovation – venture capital funding nationally is at a high point, and startups are fast becoming the new hip thing to do. This phenomenon has affected health care as well. As
we move deeper and deeper into the information age, new technologies are being developed every day around us. The changing landscape of technology, from the rise of big data
to developments in machine learning to new looming cyber threats, has forced the health care industry to adapt accordingly. Take, for example, the impact that digitalization and
cybersecurity have had in recent years on the health care industry. As hospitals move their records onto digital mediums such as the cloud, data is becoming both more convenient to
access as well as more centralized and dynamic. However, at the same time, digitization makes hospitals more vulnerable to cyberattack. In St. Louis, at the end of 2017, SSM Health
reported medical records of 29,000 patients were at risk after they were inappropriately accessed by an employee in its customer service call center. Health care providers are now
required by federal law to meet certain cybersecurity standards. Cybersecurity spending is expected to exceed $65 billion over the next five years.
Here’s the good news: problems breed problem solvers, who breed solutions. One example is Kypher, an innovative firm based in St. Louis that has created cybersecurity solutions for health care providers specifically, ranging from encryption to secure file sharing and more. The charge in health care innovation has also been powered by organizations such
as MEDLaunch, Sling Health and the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs (SoPE).
Local Incubators for Entrepreneurs Sling Health and MEDLaunch are non-profit, biomedical and entrepreneurship incubators partnering with Washington University, Saint Louis University and other organizations in the St. Louis area. The ultimate goal is the production of innovative
products that re-enter the clinical setting, thus solving the original problem and improving the standard of medical care. They put talented problem solvers in teams, concentrating
medical, engineering and business talent in the same location to tackle important problems in health care. Each team is tasked with designing a novel, effective and marketable solution
using funding from Sling Health and MEDLaunch, along with mentorship from faculty and industry advisors. At the end of the program, teams are connected to empowering sources
of capital such as local angel investors and venture capitalists through a Demo Day.
SoPE was founded in 2011 by three physicians who shared a common vision: to empower physicians and other professionals to innovate health care through entrepreneurship. SoPE offers a suite of resources and support, both human and nonhuman, to empower health care problem solvers to scale the change they are trying to make. Led by physicians and industry experts, SoPE supports early stage health care startups with a strong, talented and experienced network and community.
Organizations like MEDLaunch, Sling Health and SoPE are the drivers of positive change. They put tools and resources in the hands of those would use them most effectively. But the push for innovation is not limited to incubators or to health care. Across the country, the potential of innovation is being recognized. Innovation and entrepreneurship are being integrated into school curriculums, sometimes starting as early as the kindergarten level. There are a plethora of school-sponsored groups and national groups that foster entrepreneurialism and innovation in youngsters. They help youth team up with industry professionals to help them see how their ideas would play out in the world today. At the same time, it seems that every major U.S. university has funneled millions of dollars into their respective innovation and entrepreneurship programs. The future is looking bright. The innovations are happening, the support for change is there, and the national culture is shifting more and more toward one dedicated to solving the problems of the future.
Melony Tanko is president of Kypher, a health care cybersecurity software and services
company. She co-founded Kypher to provide risk management and compliance benefits to
organizations communicating and sharing information electronically, and those who wish
to begin or maintain a HIPAA compliant path. Melony can be reached at email@example.com
Michael Tan is a sophomore at Duke University who has a passion for innovation and entrepreneurship. He works as a business development Intern at Kypher. The company is
a member of Greater St. Louis MGMA.
The following articles also appeared in the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society's newsletter: