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The Road to Medical Innovation Goes Through Detroit

By Sandy K. Baruah

Since 2009, the crisis and subsequent resurgence of the domestic automotive industry has dominated much of the discourse on Michigan’s economic health. In some ways, and understandably so, the twists and turns of the automotive industry have overshadowed other industries. Amid the panic of shedding jobs and declining population numbers, something very intriguing took place in Michigan. As the fog of tumult lifted, the Detroit region’s health care industry emerged bigger and stronger — a juggernaut that creates jobs, attracts investment and drives growth.

Now as Michigan redefines its role in the national and global economy, the health care industry is presenting the Detroit region with a game-changing opportunity. There is a confluence of the flat, globalized world’s thirst for innovation and the demands in this country to provide efficient, cost-effective health care amid sweeping regulatory change under way. This has opened the window for states to lead in health care innovation. With the assets in our region, I can think of no other place so poised to capitalize on this opportunity.

Unlike anywhere else, ideas flow from the drawing board to the marketplace in Detroit. Positioned perfectly for industry and commerce in the Midwest, Detroit is where people go to get things done. Building on a legacy of health care innovation, the Detroit region makes products faster, more efficiently and at a higher quality than the competition. Top-notch products that help patients and improve lives are born, built, tested and sold right here.

Our region possesses cutting-edge research and development facilities, state-of-the-art hospitals, and unparalleled talent and manufacturing know-how. Detroit has an expanding network of leading health care providers and cutting-edge innovators. These assets combined with the region’s top-notch information technology talent pool provide a powerful foundation to grow our economy and share the region’s health care expertise across the nation.

This expertise will be on full display through the proposed merger of Beaumont and Henry Ford health systems. As these health care titans pool their resources and expertise, the new health care system that emerges will provide the nation a model for cost-effective delivery

of innovative health care. Reflecting the realities of the globalized world, this merger will result in one of the nation’s top 10 health care systems and could redefine how health care is provided across the country.

Oakland County’s Medical Main Street epitomizes another facet of this dynamic industry. County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and his team are leveraging this region’s assets and attracting investment and businesses from around the country and the world. Patterson identified this emerging economic cluster years ago and the region is reaping the benefits.

In hosting the annual Health Care Leaders Forum, the Chamber brings together thought-leaders from around the country to discuss the direction of the industry during unprecedented change. The Chamber will continue to use this event to bring needed and valuable information to help employers and providers make decisions while sharing the ways other organizations are improving the quality, reducing the cost and increasing the value of health care.

The Chamber is also collaborating with public and private partners and ramping up its business attraction efforts through trade missions and site selector events — helping to market the industry and region. The Chamber is committed to ensuring the world knows this region’s health care story.

Amid one of the toughest economic decades in Michigan, the Detroit region has become the one-stop shop for innovators, investors and entrepreneurs who want to lead the health care industry. The Detroit region positions companies to develop new, sought-after products and solutions to meet global medical challenges. Patients from around the world travel here to seek the most innovative treatment. As Michigan continues to cluster its rich assets in the Detroit region, make no mistake — the road to health care innovation goes through Detroit.

Sandy Baruah is the president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber.