This week, Madison County will take a giant step forward in the world of high-tech health care. The Mississippi Bio-Medical Business Collaboratory will be introduced Friday with visits from the governor and other luminaries.
Located at 152 Watford Parkway Drive in Canton, the Collaboratory will be home to a diverse array of health care companies working in various health disciplines.
This week, I met with several of the key players who are responsible for developing the Collaboratory, to discuss their plans for creating a world class facility in their health zone.
The driving force behind the project has been Tim Coursey, executive director of the Madison County Economic Development Authority. He credits Gov. Bryant and the Mississippi Legislature for creating the health zone initiatives in Mississippi, and he was enthusiastic about picking up the ball and running for the end zone.
“I saw this as a great opportunity to bring new companies and many high-paying jobs to Madison County,” he said. “Jobs, of course, has been my primary focus, and a desire to see us have the same kinds of great facilities as they do in Alabama, Tennessee and Texas.”
As Tim sees it, the Collaboratory will be the beginning of a “bright and limitless future” for health care focused business in Madison County.
The building on Watford Parkway Drive has 60,000 square feet of space for the Collaboratory businesses, of which 30,000 is currently built out, according to Tim. He suggested that the facility will ultimately house up to 15 different businesses.
“It’s not exactly like an incubator,” he said. “The folks who operate here will all have one primary focus — health care. But in other ways, it’s a way to foster growth, create great relationships, and bring Mississippi into the spotlight for high tech health care.”
Also present at the meeting were Dr. David Powe, CEO for Telehealth One; J. Todd Barrett, CEO of Advantage Pharmacy Services; and Don Glidewell, CEO of Think Anew. Their companies are in the process of cranking up their operations in the Collaboratory.
Dr. Powe said that he is now entering his “fourth career.” Initially, he served as an educator and superintendent; that was followed by a career at NASA, and later by 10 years of service at University Medical Center, where he served as chief administrative officer. Now, his focus is on telehealth services.
“I see this as a great opportunity to work with our great universities, hospitals and health care professionals,” he said. Telehealth One will focus on remote monitoring and health care services, delivering care to rural health facilities and hospitals, as well as to patients in their homes.
“The technology today has developed to the point where we can do this very efficiently and effectively,” he said. “It’s a way to deliver excellent health services at lower cost, and we all know what the impact of rising health care costs has been.”
In time, he expects to have as many as 40 high-paying jobs in the company, and hopes to be a “major asset” to the Mississippi health care community. He sees the opportunity to serve not just clinics and hospitals, but also, schools and private companies, particularly in the area of health and wellness programs.
Powe’s website can be viewed at www.telehealthone.org.
Todd Barrett has had a long and successful career in the pharmaceutical world, and his company, APS, will be manufacturing a unique new medication dispensing cart, of which he is the patent-holder.
“One of my goals in this is to help reduce drug waste,” he said. “Various studies have shown that 7-11 percent of all dispensed drugs go to waste under our current systems, particularly in nursing homes.”
His cart will eliminate much of that waste, and it will also result in labor savings, reduce the potential for error, and better serve the needs of patients.
“Our goal here at the Collaboratory is to play to win. We’re small enough to be nimble, and we have a motivation to succeed,” he said. “Our primary focus is on how we can all contribute to better care, at lower cost.”
For further information, the APS website can be viewed at www.apscart.com.
Don Glidewell’s company, Think Anew, will provide the information technology support for the Collaboratory. Think Anew serves the IT needs of many nursing homes throughout the Southeast, and the company is highly adept at working in the health care environment.
“Don will keep everything here working efficiently,” Tim said. “Without him, we’d be in a world of hurt, and his team will be a major asset to the future of the Collaboratory.”
Don will be moving his operations to the Collaboratory in early 2015, initially bringing 30-40 jobs to the facility.
“But that’s only the beginning for Think Anew,” he said. “Health care is changing and evolving rapidly in America, and with the retirement of the baby boom generation, the demands for effective technology will increase exponentially.”
He sees his company adding many new, high paying jobs in the next 2-3 years, suggesting that he may need to increase his staff to “100 or more” people in that period. He’s planning accordingly, as his new facility at the Collaboratory can easily accommodate that size staff.
Don also pointed out the vital importance of digital security, as the “hack attacks” continue to increase from Asia, the Middle East and beyond.
“You can sell a credit card record on the black market for $1. But you can sell a complete set of medical records for $1,000,” he said. “We’re working with cutting-edge technology to continually refine our security process, and our goal is to provide the best protection possible.”
Think Anew’s website can be viewed at www.ThinkAnew.com
At the meeting, Tim also discussed one of the largest and most exciting enterprises that will be developed at the Collaboratory is the Global Training Institute, a training and simulations training facility for doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, first responders, and others. Their facility will consist of both classrooms and 8 separate “operating rooms” where hands-on training will occur, covering processes and procedures, as well as hands-on work with new machines and technologies. This enterprise will occupy approximately 22,000 square feet in the Collaboratory.
Tim mentioned others that are committed to joining the facility, including pediatric health, senior health, and a variety of others.
“Some folks will simply hang out their shingle,” he said. “They’ll be interacting with the people here, and the goal, is the name suggests, it to create an effective collaborative effort that will be among the best in the Southeast.”
One thing that was clearly shared by the group is a sense of excitement, enthusiasm, and optimism for a bright future.
“This is all about creating great relationships among companies, educational institutions, and government health agencies. It’s all about delivering the best health care, first and foremost, to Mississippians. And doing so, we’ll create many great jobs not only for Madison County, but for our state and region.”
That is, indeed, an exciting proposition.
The Madison County Economic Development Authority’s website can be viewed at www.madisoncountyeda.com.
» Contact Mississippi Business Journal publisher Alan Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 364-1021.