By Kathleen Berger, Executive Producer for Science and Technology
BioSTL’s mission is to build an innovation economy for the St. Louis region by means of support and investment into the creation and growth of bioscience startups.
“For us to build a successful innovation economy, we need to be globally connected and if you’re on the East Coast and the West Coast, you’re just naturally globally connected. But here in the Midwest, we have to take a very deliberate effort, said Vijay Chauhan, Lead for GlobalSTL, a division of the nonprofit BioSTL.
Because healthcare is an area of strength for the St. Louis region, GlobalSTL hosts conferences in St. Louis, namely the annual GlobalSTL Health Innovation Summit.
“To make St. Louis a magnet for top global innovation that is coming to the United States, but doesn’t think about St. Louis as a place to go and do their business” he explained.
The 6th annual GlobalSTL Health Innovation Summit was in August 2022.
“If you line up all the healthcare organizations that are headquartered in St. Louis – BJC, SSM, Mercy, Centene, Express Scripts – all of these folks, they have combined revenues of about $360 billion. That’s more than Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago Nashville, you name it. But these innovators didn’t know any of that. We have more buying power that they want to access. They just didn’t know anything about it.”
The goal of the latest Health Innovation Summit was to provide solutions combatting healthcare worker shortages.
“This is such a big crisis and they all are desperately looking for solutions,” said Chauhan.
Held on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, the event may have far reaching benefits for citizens across the country, as the summit attracted 32 healthcare institutions from 16 states. They share ideas and learn new ideas from some of the world’s top innovators.
Mercy shares insights about an innovation of its own. The healthcare system created an app to help solve its own nursing shortage.
“It’s not just solely focused on those 12-hour shifts, we’re breaking them up into four, six, eight-hour blocks to support that work-life balance for many of our nurses” said Nida Al-Ramahi, Executive Director of Operations for Health System Nursing Services at Mercy. “It’s available to our in-house coworkers, but also to this new role that we’ve created called the gig workers, the on- demand worker. And we consider all those types of coworkers to be Mercy employed.”
And tech companies pitch their platforms, including ShiftMed.
“It’s saying, ‘Here are all the 15 nursing opportunities this week across these different health systems’ and I can give this for two hours and they tell me what the rate is,” said Chauhan.
There are apps that connect services for nurses who need childcare or rides.
“Uber Health says, ‘We’ll give you a free ride, book it right then’. All of a sudden, I’m activating this latent workforce that today cannot work full-time but can work in these narrow slices that works for them. And you add it all up, we call this activating the latent healthcare workforce,” said Chauhan.
MedArrive technology is a unique solution receiving attention, giving healthcare a boost by providing access to a network of EMTs and paramedics.
“Even before MedArrive, it was very common for EMTs and paramedics to have two or three jobs at once, right? They’re working in long-term care facilities on weekends, moonlighting at the high school football game on Friday nights,” explained Bryant Hutson, Vice President of Business Development for MedArrive.
MedArrive gives the skilled healthcare workers a new way to help people.
“A subset of patient populations that are hard to find, hard to reach, hard to engage. We’re delivering high-quality, more convenient care for the patient in their home,” explained Hutson.
It’s about promoting healthier lives, healthier communities and takes the burden off hospitals.
“Any health care organization, they come to us and they use our platform to build out these care programs. And then finally, we are reengaging this patient back with a primary care provider,” said Hutson.
GlobalSTL invites solutions that are likely to have the most success
“We are only interested in the best innovation. Why do I want that? I want St. Louis corporations to be the acquirers, not the acquired,” said Chauhan.