It may be known for its history, but as these organizations show, Philadelphia still has plenty to offer the world around us.
If you thought keeping up with the Joneses was tough enough in suburbia, then imagine having the world’s political capital and the world’s financial capital as neighbors. That’s the situation facing Philadelphia, but as they see it, that works as an advantage when you’re creating a global city for the 21st century.
“It’s a true benefit that we are not New York and that we are not Washington, D.C., but we have exceptionally easy access to the financial districts and leadership of New York and the regulatory and legislative community of D.C.,”says Matt Cabrey, executive director of Select Greater Philadelphia. “The balance to all this is that the quality of life, cost of living and access to talent that’s all assembled in the Greater Philadelphia region makes this a uniquely favorable place for a company to establish operations.”
These conditions have created a vibrant economic community that spans from life sciences to financial services, with plenty in between. And in each, Philadelphian companies are making an impact both across America and around the world.
In Philadelphia, healthcare isn’t just a local story: Not only has the city become a medical destination attracting patients from around the world, but it is establishing new treatments and processes that could transform the way we receive care in every corner of the planet.
Jefferson, for instance,has taken a series of steps to bring the organization in line with the consumer revolution witnessed in other industries. “Our new vision is that we will reimagine health care education and discovery to create unparalleled value,”says president and CEO Stephen Klasko. “If you look at the visions of the top 50 academic medical centers in the U.S., not one of them has reimagine or value in it,and I would argue those are the two most important things.”
Innovation and entrepreneurship have been put front and center of Jefferson’s new direction—be it the merger with three other health systems to create a new ‘hub and-hub’ model; plans to integrate with Philadelphia University, one of the nation’s leading design schools; or the pursuit of creative industry partnerships, such as engaging a sports modeling company to predict patient outcomes.
In North Philadelphia, Temple Health, which combines the university’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine with the Temple University Health System, is also exploring how new models can provide more efficient care through a first-of-its-kind risk collaboration with GE Healthcare.Through this arrangement, the medical center receives new equipment and GE expertise, with the technology company liable for some of the dollars if the cost savings don’t match up with what is anticipated.
“This is a very innovative collaboration and it is something that GE entered into looking at it as potentially a platform a platform for other health systems as well,” says Temple Health president and CEO Larry Kaiser.
The influence of GE can also be seen across the Delaware River. Virtua is one of New Jersey’s largest healthcare systems and has also looked at how best practices in other industries could be adopted to deliver a better standard of care. It was one of the first health care organizations to incorporate Lean and Six Sigma performance management processes into hospital operations, while pursuing partnerships with academic medical centers such as CHOP and Penn Medicine to provide local access to high-quality services.
“What was created back then and over the past decade was an understanding that we’re quick on our feet and we have a culture of change that can move quickly in different directions,” says president and CEO Richard Miller.“I would say we’re the most adaptable health care organization in the region.”
Back in Center City, Wills Eye Hospital performs more eye surgeries than any other U.S.facility, including more than half of all eye cancer cases in the nation, and has become an international referral center for complex ophthalmology cases.
“We look at our mission as three parts: the clinical care, the education, and the research and innovation that pushes forward the frontier,”says ophthalmologist-in-chief Dr. Julia Haller. “We’ve been very successful and had incredible global reach on all three of those fronts.”
Meanwhile, Einstein Healthcare Network’s Moss Rehab center ranked eighth in U.S. News & World Report’s list of the nation’s best rehabilitation hospitals in 2015, and is internationally known for its use of robotics in rehab medicine. For example, it was the exclusive U.S. site for clinical trials of ReWalk, a motorized exoskeleton that helps people in wheel chairs to stand and move independently.
Says president and CEO Barry Freedman, “It’s not only great for patients physically because it gets their whole body moving again, but it’s great for them mentally, emotionally and spiritually.”
This confluence of medical research institutions—in addition to a vibrant innovation economy led by the University City Science Center, the first and largest urban research park in the U.S.—has also made the region a thriving breeding ground for the entire life sciences continuum. Here you’ll find everything from biotech start-ups to global pharmaceutical companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Merck&Co—all of whom benefit from Philadelphia’s status as the fifth-largest R&D hub in the country, with $10.5 billion invested annually.
“You ask somebody what’s the U.S. hub for biotech, invariably they’ll say Cambridge or Boston, or maybe San Francisco or San Diego,” says Christopher Molineaux, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Bio, the statewide bioscience association. “When people talk about the pharma industry, New Jersey has the reputation as the medical chest of the world. For medical devices, people think about Minnesota. But the reality is Pennsylvania has all of that.”
Teva Pharmaceuticals is just one of the companies to recognize what the region has to offer. Headquartered in Israel, the world’s largest generic medicines manufacturer chose the Philadelphia suburbs for its U.S. base, from where it oversees over 30 locations and 6,500 employees across the country.