The Medical Alley Association is a community of organizations that share the noble goal of promoting medical innovation and driving healthcare reform worldwide. More than 600 companies make up the Association, including giants like Medtronic, Mayo Clinic, 3M, and Abbott. The Association was founded in 1984 in Minnesota, a state with a long history of healthcare and medical innovation. Minnesota currently ranks as the number one Health Technology Cluster for innovation in the world.
The Medical Alley Association held their annual meeting on April 27th at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN. Hundreds of representatives from a wide variety of industries attended the annual meeting, demonstrating the great diversity of the Medical Alley Association. The purpose of the annual meeting was to thank the Association’s members, celebrate its accomplishments, and discuss current challenges. It also served as a great networking opportunity for the attendees.
The meeting began with Shaye Mandle, President and CEO of the Medical Alley Association, highlighting the Medical Alley Association’s most recent accomplishments. He stated, “Over the past five years, our biotechnology and pharmaceutical community has grown by more than 1,000 jobs and added more than 1 million square feet of space [to that community’s businesses]. Our digital health companies have secured investments over the past five years that have increased by more than 540 percent, with nearly 1.4 billion dollars in exits. We are the number one state in healthcare performance and home to the United State’s number one hospital, Mayo Clinic…. 2016 saw a record number of Midwest healthcare companies attracting new equity investments. Minnesota ranked number one, attracting 424 million dollars.” Mandle emphasized that the Medical Alley Association will continue to identify and connect sectors and provide them with the necessary support system that facilitates health innovation and care.
Though the weather in Medical Alley may be chillier and offer less sunlight than Silicon Valley, the Association hopes to attract bright, passionate people to the area in other ways. Lisa Clarke, the Executive Director of the Destination Medical Center in Rochester, touched on this topic.
The Destination Medical Center in Rochester is currently the biggest economic development initiative in the state of Minnesota. Clarke described how their project aims to transform the city of Rochester – home to Mayo Clinic – in ways that attract more people to come and innovate there. One of the gems of this makeover will be the development of a building called Discovery Square, “the future of biolife science and research in Rochester.” Discovery Square aims to provide the necessary space to house innovators and collaborators from the Mayo Clinic and companies around the world.
The meeting concluded with the Association welcoming a new board member, Michael Guyette, President & CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Minnesota. Guyette delivered a speech on how health insurance companies can innovate and change the way healthcare is rendered. He stressed the importance of moving away from “fee for service” to a more value-based system. Guyette believes consumers will be in the driver’s seat of healthcare in the near future.
The Medical Alley Association is a growing network of organizations interested in advocating for health technology and the population’s wellbeing. With more than 150 new organizations joining the Association last year alone, the Association seems to be on the right track to achieving its goal of becoming the “global epicenter of health innovation and care.”