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Cleveland Clinic Innovations (CCI) Pursues Alliance with North Shore-LIJ Health System

Posted Feb 27 2012 12:00am

I am sure that the pursuit of greater profits was inevitable as some of our large health systems have expanded and developed new lines of business. A recent article focused on the Cleveland Clinic and its goal of developing spin-off healthcare ventures (see: Cleveland Clinic and North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System Form Innovation Alliance Collaboration to Enhance the Discovery and Development of New Technologies ). For me, all of this does not exactly jibe with the non-profit status of many such health systems (see: Non-Profit Hospitals Drift from Their Mission Despite Subsidies ; Can U.S. Hospitals Become More Oriented to Health Outcomes? ). But read on. Below is an excerpt from the article:

Cleveland Clinic and the North Shore-LIJ Health System...announced an agreement to create an "Innovation Alliance" to benefit patients through collaborative innovation and commercialization opportunities. Specifically, they will seek to enhance the discovery, development, deployment and commercialization of new technologies originating from North Shore-LIJ's clinical facilities and its Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, headquartered in Manhasset, NY. North Shore-LIJ is the second institution in the country to join Cleveland Clinic's Innovation Alliance program, the first being MedStar Health – the mid-Atlantic's largest healthcare system. The primary goal of the collaboration between Cleveland Clinic Innovations (CCI) and North Shore-LIJ is to leverage the capabilities of CCI to help turn the discoveries made at the Feinstein into diagnostic and treatment options that can be used to improve patient care.... Cleveland Clinic Innovations will provide extensive support to the Feinstein to help bring medical technologies from the "bench to the bedside."....For over a decade, CCI has earned a reputation as an industry leader in creating a uniquely inclusive environment that has been successful in commercializing medical devices, diagnostic and therapeutic drugs and healthcare-related information technologies. This model has resulted in 47 spin-off companies and more than $500 million in equity investment.

In my mind, this notion of burgeoning entrepreneurship on the part of large healthcare systems is very significant with the Cleveland Clinic as a prime example. It represents a business model that is now competing with the medical schools and their parent research universities in spawning new medical devices, new diagnostics, and new drugs. Cleveland Clinic is taking its ten-year experience in commercializing such companies and "injecting" it into other thriving health system systems such as the North Shore-LIJ Health System referred to in the press release quoted above.

In case you missed the first sentence of the press release quoted above, all of these activities are designed to "benefit patients." I get it now! This is all about developing new, innovative drugs, diagnostics, and medical devices that patients have access to if and when they come to market and will supposedly improve their lives. Pay no attention to the $500 million in equity investment that the Cleveland Clinic has achieved over the past decade and that will enable it to grow even faster add get even larger.

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