The launch of the Georgia Tech Health IT Cluster Partnering Program on August 22 drew more than 50 participants. They represented health information technology (HIT) and information technology companies, Georgia Tech, the Small Business Administration (SBA), the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), and other health IT stakeholders. Jointly managed by MBDA Business Center and the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Program at Georgia Tech, the program’s mission is to bring emerging businesses into the health IT arena so that they can collaborate with established health IT businesses in support of the industry’s efforts to build a more integrated and efficient health care system.
Stephen Fleming, vice president and executive director of the Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute, opened the event and highlighted Georgia Tech’s long involvement in the healthcare industry. “Most people don’t know that the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the industry trade organization, was founded on Georgia Tech’s campus almost 50 years ago,” Fleming said.
Cassius Butts, SBA Regional Administrator for Region IV, stressed SBA’s commitment to the program and to the support of businesses and entrepreneurs in the health IT space. “It is great to see health care IT stakeholders and business owners coming together to move health care and our region forward,” Butts said.
Representing MBDA was Patricia Hanes, director of global supply chain; she commented that she is excited about the part minority business enterprises will play in helping to move the nation forward through innovation and job creation. Donna Ennis, project director of the MBDA Business Center, and Marla Gorges, associate director for the Health@eI2, provided an overview of the program.
Three companies that have set the bar for the industry and have been very active in the health IT innovation space — Holon Solutions, the Dossia Consortium, and Vitalize Consulting Solutions (a SAIC Company) — shared their successes with the group. Roundtable discussion provided opportunities for the emerging and established health IT companies to begin building connections and exploring opportunities.
The Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Program is a tri-agency grant from the U.S. Economic Development Agency, the Employment and Training Administration, and the SBA to create jobs, produce a stable workforce, and advance commercialization in the health IT sector. The SBA portion of this program is focused on connecting traditionally underserved and underrepresented businesses directly to technical resources and expertise they need to participate and be successful in the health IT sector.
For more information on the Health IT Cluster Partnering Program, go to: http://health.ei2.org/sba/