Lori Smith: Putting Indy on the cutting edge of health, science and tech

Central Indiana is attracting life sciences companies at an exceptional rate. For more than a century, our city has drawn people from around the world to work for some of the best health care systems, pharmaceutical companies, medical research organizations and tech-enabled companies.

Our community has headquartered companies that have been pivotal in leading in their field, beginning with Eli Lilly and Co. and Roche Diagnostics, as well as the Regenstrief Institute, which was established in 1969. Through varying approaches, what these organizations share is an overlapping goal to apply advances to medicine in order to improve the quality of care for patients nationwide.

According to a report by the Indiana Economic Development Corp., the Hoosier state ranks second nationally for worldwide life sciences exports and among the top five states for life sciences industry jobs. These ratings did not simply come by happenstance, but rather from the assistance of our educational institutions. Indiana is fortunate to have a high concentration of talent coming to our city from nationally ranked universities that excel in technology, bioscience and health care degree programs, which help attract bright and ambitious individuals to Indiana and introduce them to the opportunities they have if they stay.

In addition to working with those in academia, Hoosiers have been quick to collaborate with professionals across industries, from government entities to the life sciences industry, health care systems and digital health care companies, to address the pandemic. In learning to work together, we have created an approach that can be used on an ongoing basis to maximize the value of the wealth of assets we have to provide exceptional care delivery to our community and beyond.

Looking forward, precision health is a solution that can provide patients with better, more individualized care and continue to keep Indy on the cutting edge. Precision Health Insight Networks ensures that health care professionals have relevant, real-time data at their fingertips to make informed decisions about the best way to treat patients. We are seeing precision health increasingly used in the decision-making process for treating cancer and mental health disorders.

This innovative approach to patient care would not be possible without collaboration from innovators across the health care industry, and we need to ensure our experience from the past year continues along this trajectory. Taking a proactive approach and using new tools across a broader spectrum are ways to continue to attract more companies and talented people in the life sciences field to Indiana.

We have consistently been a leader in the advancement of health care—and the upward trend is not slowing down. We know there’s a lot more work that needs to be done, but our hope is that we can be at the epicenter of driving positive change. By using shared data, talent and technology resources, we can continue to position Indiana as a front-runner in cutting-edge science and ensure the behemoths of health care are built here.•

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Smith is senior vice president of talent at Hc1, an Indianapolis-based company that provides health care data and analytics software.

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