Cleveland Plus Enhances Reputation as a Health IT Hub

In recent years, Northeast Ohio has emerged as a key player in the growing health IT space, an area that offers great opportunity given the region’s vast network of esteemed healthcare institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals. Home to a growing number of healthcare IT and services companies, such as Hyland Software, Explorys (an IBM Company), COMS, CoverMyMeds, and Lexi-Comp (a Wolters Kluwer company), the region is making a name for itself in this growing field. With the support and assistance of organizations like BioEnterprise, the region will continue to cement its place as a growing hub for health IT companies.

Regional Assets 

As Northeast Ohio works to enhance its reputation as a leader in health IT, it is fortunate to boast a number of key assets, such as the HIMSS Innovation Center. Located on the fourth floor of the Global Center for Health Innovation, the HIMSS Innovation Center is “is dedicated to improving healthcare access, outcomes and reducing costs through the implementation of information technology” (Global Center for Health Innovation). Through demonstrations and simulations, the HIMSS Innovation Center is designed to showcase how information technology can help solve and improve healthcare delivery. The Center was launched in 2013 and is considered a worldwide center of excellence.

Another important asset to the region’s growing health IT sector is the Health-Tech Corridor (HTC), a 1,600 acre area connecting Downtown Cleveland to University Circle. Located within blocks of four world-class healthcare institutions, six business incubators, four academic centers, and more than 130 high-tech and health-tech companies, the Health-Tech Corridor functions as a hub of entrepreneurial activity. “The HTC offers companies access to everything they need to grow and thrive – entrepreneurial support services, venture capital funding, a community of like-minded innovators, thought leaders at the academic and health-care institutions, local manufacturing capacity and expertise, a highly skilled workforce, and a commitment from the public sector to help small businesses expand” (Health-Tech Corridor). As such, the Health-Tech Corridor has been highly instrumental in getting the region’s health IT scene on the map.

Leading Companies 

Contributing to the region’s health IT scene are a number of growing companies, such as Explorys, now an IBM company.  Specializing in health data analytics software, Explorys was acquired by IBM in 2015 and has added 80 employees since that time. Earlier this year, IBM announced that it would occupy the top three floors of the 1111 Superior Building in Downtown Cleveland, allowing room for future growth.  Explorys was founded in 2009 as an innovation spinoff from the Cleveland Clinic.  Its software addresses the national imperative to leverage big data in healthcare for the improvement of medicine and delivery of care.

OnBase by Hyland is another example of a prominent player in Northeast Ohio’s health IT space. The company is the region’s largest software company, with more than 1,200 employees. Its enterprise content management software is used extensively by the healthcare industry, making it a powerful tool in the area of health IT. Located in Westlake, the company has been recognized as one of the nation’s top employers by Fortune magazine.

As the region works to assist new and emerging companies, OnShift is a leading example of a health IT startup that has experienced early success. The company, which created “a post-acute care and senior living staff scheduling software” recently completed an $18 million Series D financing round (Crain’s Cleveland). With 128 employees, the company plans to add another 60 in 2016, furthering illustrating its growth potential.

Leveraging Region’s Biomedical Strengths for Future Growth 

Northeast Ohio’s emerging health IT scene is just one component of the region’s overall biomedical industry, which has seen widespread growth over the last several years. In fact, as highlighted by BioEnterprise in its 2016 Medical Capital Report, the region’s biomedical industry has grown from just 300 companies in 2002 to more than 700 companies in 2015. The region boasts a $5.6 billion biomedical sector, which is anchored by leading clinical and research institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Akron Children’s Hospital, MetroHealth Medical Center and the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. Together, these institutions combine to make our region one of the most elite biomedical hubs in the nation.

Ultimately, given our region’s deep ties to the biomedical industry, the region anticipates seeing continued growth in this area. Over the next decade, the region is projected to have 85,000 job openings in the healthcare sector, further illustrating the industry’s growth potential. As Northeast Ohio’s biomedical industry continues to grow, the health IT space is likely to experience increased growth and investments as well.