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Is Seattle Ready For A Seismic Shift In Healthcare?

The plans to open the Cambia Grove, a health care innovation center, were first announced about this same time last year at the 25th Annual Governor’s Life Sciences Summit. Nicole Bell, executive director of Cambia Grove was then quoted saying, “Why couldn’t we be for health care what we are for coffee, aerospace, for online retail and for independent rock-and-roll?”IMG_2081

A year later and timed perfectly to coincide with the 17th Annual National Institutes of Health (NIH)/SBIR/STTR Conference, Cambia Grove announced results from the 9 page “Report on Health Care Innovation in Washington State.” This report effectively established a baseline for the economic impact of health care innovation sub-sector in Seattle. Based on the numbers, it seems as though Seattle is poised to compete with rival health care hubs like Boston and the Bay Area.

IMG_0412Here are a few of the more impressive stats. Pay levels are for this sub-sector of this industry are 8% higher than average with $2B in compensation, not to shabby. Apparently these employees are amazing rock stars with 300% more productivity than an average worker and they create $6.8B in direct output?!?!? With this astounding productivity that 8% doesn’t seem like quite a commensurate salary increase.  While there are 22,500 jobs across the state, it is not surprising that over 80% of them are concentrated in Seattle. After Nicole Bell revealed these report highlights, she commented that it would make sense to create or convert even more jobs in to this thriving job sector. I guess we bike riding, coffee drinking, online shopping, wearing jeans and Tevas to work Seattlites must really be on to something here.

I am absolutely thrilled to have taken a path that is leading me into this new sub-sector of healthcare innovation and start-ups where evidently I’ll be working in the land of serious overachievers. As a RN, I’m no stranger to long hours and hard work. Coming from traditional healthcare institutions where the norms are grueling 12-hour shifts, you literally have to ask someone if you can go pee because you can’t leave your patients unattended and you learn to ingest your lunch in under 5 minutes.

IMG_0413As much as working in traditional healthcare has taught me clinically, I couldn’t imagine moving into a healthcare IT analyst role after completing my Masters degree in Clinical Informatics. I imagine if I stayed, I’d probably end-up stuck in a cube trying to unscramble the EHR mess or analyzing already broken workflows attempting to integrated a new piece of technology that never went through any real usability testing by actual healthcare workers who would be suing it. Having used both Epic and Cerner products, I was like “I told you so!” after reading articles about the recently published JAMA reporting the lack of adherence by EHR vendors to conduct usability testing. I digress. My point is I’m waiting with bated breath for the lagging traditional healthcare industry to get the swift kick it needs by the younger, more ambitious and more productive innovation sub-sector. The report is effectively calling out to health innovators in Seattle that the time for a seismic shift is now…in healthcare, hopefully not literally a seismic shift in Seattle. Either way, Seattle Health Innovators prepare yourselves, let’s get ready to compete with Boston and the Bay Area.

Posted in: Healthcare Disruption, Healthcare Research, Healthcare Technology, Healthcare transformation, Seattle

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