The Northeast Ohio region is considered to be one of the top regions in the United States in the area of healthcare and medical research. Nationally ranked healthcare providers, such as the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals Health System, and Summa Health System, Akron General Medical Center, and Akron Children’s Hospital, to name just a few, provide world-class healthcare and also drive the region's strong healthcare sector. Research institutions and medical schools in the area all contribute to ongoing innovation, the growth of bio-enterprises and first rate healthcare in Northeast Ohio.
According to a recent report by the Center For Health Affairs (2007), healthcare in Northeast Ohio has become one of the driving forces for economic growth in the region. As the population ages and new technologies surface, the healthcare industry in this area has moved quickly to become one of the nation’s premier locations for new healthcare research and implementation. As this has occurred, both the healthcare facilities and supporting companies have grown to meet the increasing needs. In turn, this has caused a ripple effect where ancillary industries (e.g., building and construction) have also grown as more space and new facilities are needed. Also, because of the unique specializations of many of the hospitals in the area, millions of dollars are added annually to the local economy from patients and their families who do not reside in the region and, in many cases, the United States. At the same time, due to their research status, key hospitals in the area are awarded millions of dollars in research contracts from large funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health.
Also, over the last decade the Northeast Ohio Region has purposely set out to make the region a nationally-recognized healthcare center of excellence in commercializing healthcare and its associated industries. This is currently being accomplished through the identification, development, and acceleration of venture-oriented small businesses and shared start-up companies. Aided by such collaborative groups as BioEnterprise and JumpStart, numerous entrepreneurs in the region have created businesses in the healthcare industry. BioEnterprise founders and partners are The Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals Health System, Case Western Reserve University, and Summa Health System.
As an example, Summa Enterprise Group is one of the commercialization offices of the BioEnterprise partnership, the others being Cleveland Clinic Innovations and Case Research Institute Office of Technology Transfer. In 2002, Summa Health System created a center for innovation when it launched the Summa Enterprise Group (SEG). A 100-percent, fully owned subsidiary of Summa Health System, SEG was created to provide an entrepreneurial outlet for the system and to bring health-based products and services to the market. Since its inception, Summa Enterprise Group has formed several companies, including Cornerstone Medical Services, a business that specializes in durable medical equipment and CompMed, a business that specializes in collecting workers compensation insurance claims for health systems.
In summary, healthcare in Northeastern Ohio is not only one of the region’s largest industries; it is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy. Major research and patient care facilities provide millions of dollars to the regional economy each year. At the same time, the healthcare industry is a pivotal force in the regional economy for as it grows other industries (e.g., construction) also expand to meet the growing needs. Concurrent with this, new entrepreneurial healthcare related businesses have grown dramatically throughout the region. In many cases, this has been spurred on by collaborative partnerships between private companies, government agencies and non-profit organizations.