St. Elizabeth launching Innovation Center

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St. Elizabeth Healthcare is launching the Innovation Center to bolster the healthcare industry for its patients. 

St. Elizabeth recently announced the new Innovation Center “to spur internal innovation and propel the System to build, invest in and/or partner with organizations transforming the healthcare industry,” according to a press release from St. Elizabeth. 

The center will use a venture fund to invest in emerging healthcare companies “that focus on improving the lives of patients through faster, more accurate diagnoses, state-of-the-art treatment options and increased cost efficiency of care.”

Returns generated by the fund will be reinvested to bring more technology advancements to St. Elizabeth locations. The St. Elizabeth Board of Trustees approved $25 million in seed money for the fund, and a future gift of an additional $5 million will come from the estate of Manish Bhandari, a “leading medical oncologist” according to St. Elizabeth. 

Dr. Manish Bhandari. Photo provided | St. Elizabeth Healthcare

St. Elizabeth Healthcare said the aim of the Innovation Center is to enhance care to patients with new treatments and clinical trials; invest in new companies and technology; influence technology in development to better serve patients; and ultimately lower the cost of care while improving the level of care to patients. 

Through its venture fund, the Innovation Center has already invested $5 million in Foldax, a company that developed a first-in-human synthetic heart valve. 

Compared to current heart valves, the synthetic version lasts a lifetime and costs thousands less than its counterparts. 

The Innovation Center is also helping a startup, Epitel, bring patient-friendly patches to assist in seizure detection and monitoring in emergency rooms, ICUs, and patient homes. 

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“As a practicing oncologist and inventor, I have seen the impact over the last decade that new technologies such as immunotherapy, cell therapy, medical devices and IT have had to enhance the life and health of my patients, my family and society at large, It is important to fund and bring such medical innovation to our community,” Bhandari said. “There is an unbelievable amount of innovation happening every day and I feel privileged to be a small piece in making these high-tech solutions a reality, and bringing it for the benefit of our patients.”

Sarah Giolando, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at St. Elizabeth, said the hospital system is “laser-focused” on ways to improve patient outcomes. 

“The Innovation Center opens the door to incredible opportunities that allow us to do exactly that,” Giolando said. “This investment in innovation further positions St. Elizabeth as a hybrid academic and community hospital: we can be nimble in responding to revolutionary healthcare technology opportunities, ultimately leading to more lives saved.”

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