Health tech is one of the industries we are most proud of in the Twin Cities. Our unique history as a home for some of the world’s best-known medical manufacturing giants – 3M, Medtronic, and Ecolab to name a few – has created an incubator for healthcare-related startups like Redbrick Health, Bright Health, Zipnosis, Relievant Medsystems and more.

The reason both enterprises and startups in the health tech world can flourish in Minnesota is because we prioritize it. Beyond “Minnesota-nice” people, cornfields and freezing winters, health care innovation is part of our identity. We’re the #1 health tech cluster in the world aka the Medical Alley. People are taking notice, too. In fact, companies that make up the Medical Alley organization raised $735 million from investors around the world in 2017.

As a hot button topic in the news and in politics, we all know the healthcare industry needs a facelift. Innovation in health tech is absolutely the only way forward to revamp the process for all the players involved, and the Medical Alley’s combination of big companies and agile startups position Minnesota to steer the industry in the right direction. Here are a few examples of how we’ve done that just in 2018:

  • Earl Bakken invented the pacemaker and founded Medtronic in a garage in northeast Minneapolis. Today, Medtronic is the world’s largest medical device company, and is pioneering minimally invasive solutions for chronic ailments and inventing ways to help physicians treat chronic pain without the use of opioids
  • Jump Technologies Inc. recently closed on another $2M to go toward sales and development of its hospital supply chain software. By keeping track of inventory and predicting when supplies are low, the software keeps hospitals stocked and ready to deliver proper care to patients.
  • Virtual care provider Zipnosis has recognized the importance of access to care, acknowledging that patient preferences have changed. Zipnosis’ belief that healthcare providers need to move quickly in order to retain patients is the driver behind their busy 2018, with $3M raised in funding, partnerships with Methodist Family Health and the American Academy of Family Physicians to provide online diagnosis and treatment services, a new service called Patient Outreach which connects patients to provider organizations to schedule in-person visits, and the addition of post-surgical care to its virtual offerings.

People may feel that the “Silicon Valley of the Midwest” isn’t quite the right label the Twin Cities, but there’s no denying that this unassuming area smack dab in the middle of the country, is a key player in the future of health care.