Real-Time Data Drives Post-Pandemic Health Care

Building a resilient post-COVID health care workforce will require data-driven solutions to meet evolving employee needs, according to Deloitte’s 2021 Global Health Care report.

By the BF Staff
From the July/August 2021 Issue

According to Deloitte’s 2021 Global Health Care Outlook, one legacy of the pandemic is likely to be a renewed focus on collaboration across the health ecosystem. Traditional boundaries have become more porous or even erased, creating opportunities for new health care behaviors, new business and funding models, and more effective stakeholder collaborations, leading to novel combinations of products and services from incumbents and new entrants.

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(Photo: Greater Peoria EDC)

COVID-19 ignited unprecedented collaboration across organizations, industries, academia and governments, and irrefutably demonstrated the value of partnering to deliver new solutions and improved outcomes, the Deloitte report says.

Interesting alliances are expected to arise between health care incumbents and technology giants, each bringing distinct strengths to the arrangement. Many of these are based on creating value by combining and analyzing datasets and converting them into interventions that save costs or improve quality and the user experience.

Addressing near-term workforce challenges arising from COVID-19—in particular, safeguarding frontline staff’s safety and well-being—while also building future workforce adaptability and resilience will require data-driven, human-centric solutions that allow organizations to move quickly to support evolving employee needs.

Cloud technologies, remote-work platforms, shared services and AI can enable organizations to extend remote work arrangements they established during the pandemic well into the future. Data on how individuals and teams interact and collaborate can help organizations look beyond the traditional organizational chart to strengthen and expand networks and collaborations, nurture new ideas and help foster a culture of inclusion and belonging.

According to Deloitte, health care organizations are transitioning to health IT systems powered by cloud and data and analytics tools to enable real-time, smart digital health. They are using interoperable data and platforms supported by deep learning capabilities, “always on” biosensors and behavioral research to shape consumer beliefs and actions. They are also applying virtual care, AI, and other technologies to personalize medicine, enable real-time care interventions and provide behavioral nudges.


The Greater Peoria (GP) region, dubbed the Heart of Illinois, has always been a manufacturing hub. From the mass production of Penicillin in the 1940s to manufacturing-giant Caterpillar’s innovative efforts in construction equipment and technology, manufacturing has been the foundation of the region’s economy.

Staying true to its core strength and taking advantage of the stellar health infrastructure, educated workforce and general ease of business operations, the region is geared to become the next biomedical manufacturing hub.

In an MSA of 380,447 people, more than 30,000 people are employed at 670 payrolled  health care locations across the region. That is 26% above the national average for a region of this size and is 16% of the region’s total workforce. This obvious demand in the workforce is supported by the region’s institutions of higher learning with 8 institutions logging 1,055 degree/certification completions for health and health related programs in 2019 and 24,282 graduates in biotech disciplines in the last five years.

Furthermore, Peoria is the headquarters of OSF Healthcare, an integrated  health care system with more than 23,600 Mission Partners in 147 locations, including 14 hospitals and 2 colleges of nursing in Illinois and Michigan. OSF employs 13,500 people in the Peoria region, making it GP’s largest employer. Unity Point is a 2nd hospital system and employs close to 5,000 people as well. Additional  health care anchors include the University of Illinois Medical School in Peoria which places more residents in their top selected fields across the UICOM schools in the state, Jump Simulation Center, Illinois Cancer Care, a large St. Jude Affiliate, and more.

These facts coupled with GP’s quality of life is why the region is recognized as the most affordable mid-sized city in the U.S. and ranked as the 6th top Healthcare Hubs (Mid-Sized Metro Area).

These impressive statistics alongside Peoria’s history as the location where scientists at the USDA Agricultural Research Laboratory discovered the means to mass produce penicillin, position Peoria to be at the forefront of the next big biomedical revolution.

To kick start this revolution, Jake Becraft, a Peoria area alumnus and biotech entrepreneur based in Boston launched the Peoria Bio-Made initiative. This initiative’s goal is to assemble the building blocks of a bioeconomy in Peoria by building incentives from local, state, and federal leaders to attract high growth business to the area; creating education opportunities to train the workforce required for a thriving biomedical ecosystem and reaching out to global biomanufacturing leaders to communicate Peoria’s unique value proposition and opportunity.

Reditus labs is a rapidly growing medical laboratory that has performed cutting edge work to ID COVID-19 variants in the Peoria region. Virtusense Technologies provides AI software for medical devices and has grown to a national company employing 40 in the Peoria Area. Midwest BioProcessing uses bioprocess technologies to bring new products to market for human health and nutrition utilizing lab space in the Peoria Next Innovation Center for their R&D base. And Bump Boxes is a fast-growing Peoria company that started with a subscription maternity service and has added additional lines of business including durable medical equipment. The growth trajectory of these and other companies is indicative of how the Peoria region will support the success of companies located here.

Related investments of note include OSF’s $250 Million comprehensive Cancer Center with proton beam therapy. Unity Point plans a $24 Million child-adolescent behavioral-health facility in Peoria. And the newly opened, $10 Million Ronald McDonald house provide further proof of the region’s ability to grow the life science industry.

The Peoria region offers health care, life science and biomedical manufacturing companies a list of benefits they won’t find in other parts of the state and country. Between the 2.5 hour drive to both the Chicago and St. Louis markets; the thriving  health care ecosystem; the real estate, energy, and water cost savings; the 250+ PhD researchers and medical professionals working in the area; the range of affordable home options and the abundant outdoor recreational activities – GP offers businesses incomparable value for a community its size in the midwest.


When Operation Warp Speed commenced to deliver COVID-19 vaccines across the US, Memphis was at the center of the delivery efforts. Long considered America’s Distribution Center, Memphis was a natural location for time sensitive vaccine distributions due to the powerful cold chain network capabilities of FedEx, which is headquarter in the Bluff City.

The vaccine distribution was the latest highlight in a long history of medical innovation that has come to anchor the Greater Memphis region’s economy.

With a central U.S. location and an unmatched global logistics infrastructure that includes the FedEx Superhub, the intersection of five Class A railroads, direct access to major interstate highways and the country’s fifth largest inland port, Greater Memphis has long been a location of choice for life sciences and medical device companies.

From medical advances that have introduced some of the world’s most renowned orthopedic innovations to medical breakthroughs in the fight against childhood cancer, the Greater Memphis region is an epicenter of life changing innovations that improve the human condition.

Today, Memphis is home to more than 50 life sciences companies and has the country’s second highest concentration of medical device facilities. In addition to being the headquarters for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the University of Tennessee’s Health Sciences Center, Memphis is also home to operations for major medical device manufacturers including Medtronic, Smith & Nephew, Microport, Wright Medical Group (recently acquired by Stryker), Zimmer Biomet and Olympus.

“The Greater Memphis region has a long history of innovation in the life science sector. Our prime location and unparalleled logistics infrastructure make it possible to get life-saving technologies anywhere in the country or around the globe right on time,” said Ted Townsend, Chief Economic Development Officer for the Greater Memphis Chamber. “Our attractive business climate and skilled workforce make it easy for medical device companies to establish the nexus of their critical operations in our region.”

Life science and medical device companies have historically chosen Memphis for their growing operations due to its prime location and unmatched global logistics capabilities.

Tennessee ranks second in the nation in exports of medical equipment and supplies, with a total of $4.0 billion in 2020. It is the top state in the southeast for medical exports, primarily driven by the strong medical device sector in West Tennessee.

The city’s long history of medical innovation, its business-friendly climate and strong logistics network have attracted expansion and relocation projects from mid-sized and startup companies in the medical innovation space as well. Alphatech Holdings, Cognate Bioservices, Inc., Engineered Medical Systems, Prospero Health, SurfaceDynamics, MiCare Path, SweetBio and PiccoWasp have all announced recent relocations or expansions in Greater Memphis. Walgreens recently announced a micro fulfillment center in the region.

In addition to its logistics strengths, a growing skilled and diverse talent pool is also driving life science and medical device companies to choose Memphis for their operations. The medical device industry alone employs nearly 17,000 people in Greater Memphis. The region boasts a large talent pool with more than 62,000 annual graduates of four-year and community colleges. Employment in the medical device industry has grown 50 percent since 1999, including more than 5,500 positions in research and development. With 39 colleges and universities providing life science and  health care-related coursework in a 150-mile radius, Greater Memphis is a magnet for the region’s talent.

The region’s intellectual capital in the device sector frequently produces spinoffs and startups, supported by one of the nation’s Top 25 accelerator programs ZeroTo510.

Collaboration between the Mid-south’s highly connected education and research facilities and training intuitions help drive innovation from treatments to techniques.

Earlier this year, the University of Memphis Research Foundation Research Park received a “soft landings” certification from the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA). The distinction creates an easy entry point for medical and  health care companies interested in entering the US market via Greater Memphis. The program offers accelerated introductions to US business practices, regulations and culture.

With more than 11,400 specialized medical device-related occupations and a $1.9 billion economic presence, the Medical Device industry is an anchor of the Greater Memphis region’s economy.

The region’s life science industry is backed by a collection of world-class research assets. The UT-Baptist Research Park, a large and growing bioscience research campus, is located in the heart of the Memphis Medical District, a 250-acre area of Downtown Memphis that boasts nine of the region’s key life sciences institutions, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, Regional One, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Southern College of Optometry and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.


Sierra Vista, a high desert community with extraordinary mountain views, is the medical, educational, and commercial center of Southeastern Arizona, serving more than 131,000 people but with a population of about 45,000, lending a hometown feel to this busy hub. Located in the San Pedro River Valley, 75 miles southeast of Tucson, Sierra Vista is uniquely positioned for businesses in the health care industry that are seeking to expand, relocate, or launch a new enterprise.

In 2015, privately-owned Canyon Vista Medical Center opened a 177,000 square-foot hospital in Sierra Vista. Since then, this state-of-the-art teaching facility has continued to grow, and provides services to patients from Arizona and New Mexico. CVMC recently received a “B” rating from Leapfrog, an independent company that uses public data to compile letter grades from hospitals from across the country and looks at scores based on patient safety and care. A “B” rating positions CVMC among the top hospitals in Arizona.

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Sierra Vista, an affordable community that enjoys a mild climate and outdoor lifestyle, is the medical, educational and commercial center of Southeastern AZ. (Photo: Sierra Vista)

Canyon Vista has been expanding services to meet growing needs. Recent additions include a cardiac catheterization lab, a bone and joint institute, and cancer treatment center. Canyon Vista’s progressive mission has earned the facility accreditations of excellence, including a “Gold Seal of Approval” certification from the Joint Commission as a Center of Excellence for total hip and total knee replacement.

Canyon Vista Medical Complex is strategically located along Highway 90 East, a major roadway between regional communities, with adjacent acreage for future growth and opportunity for  health care and medical enterprises.

Directly across the highway from Canyon Vista lies a 25-square mile Opportunity Zone parcel, inviting R&D, light industrial, office, retail, hospitality, and myriad other enterprises ready to capitalize on this high-traffic, highly visible, regional location.

Sierra Vista is home to Cochise College, named the third-best community college in the nation and one of Arizona’s top nursing schools. In fact, Cochise College is recognized for offering the top Associates in Applied Science in nursing in the state. Cochise College also graduates highly trained technical candidates, including cyber security, augmented reality/virtual reality, computer programming, chemistry, biology, engineering, and math.

The University of Arizona’s Schools of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) was established, and remains, in Sierra Vista, offering programs that lead the nation in intelligence and information operations, network operations, cyber operations, and informatics among others.

Study programs at CAST and Cochise College complement other higher education opportunities, including those offered through Arizona State University’s bachelor’s programs at Cochise College, and Wayland Baptist University.

Sierra Vista is also home to the U.S. Army’s Fort Huachuca, a post serving strategic technical missions in the fields of electronics, engineering, network operations, security, technical interoperability, intelligence, and cyber operations. Approximately 700 professionally trained and educated soldiers transition from Fort Huachuca to the civilian workforce annually, providing a valuable workforce for businesses seeking candidates for sensitive positions. Here, corporate recruiters can find applicants with clean records, high physical standards, demonstrated ability to follow instruction, and ability to obtain clearances. Technical contractors also set up shop in Sierra Vista, where highly educated, seasoned professionals provide support, testing, and educational opportunities related to Fort Huachuca’s missions.

Sierra Vista’s workforce can boast an overall attainment of higher education degrees of nearly 30 percent, thanks to the vital mix of medical, education, and technology. An educated workforce also means workers enjoy a competitive income a low cost of living and a great lifestyle.