I’ve been fortunate enough to share a lot of podiums with great minds and innovators, from last year’s White House economic summit to annual health IT gatherings like the HIMSS annual conference, but I don’t think I’ve ever been as energized about our country’s technology community as from what I’m experiencing on the ground floor.

 

Named by Forbes as one of the Top 12 Business Incubators Changing the World, the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) at Georgia Tech in Atlanta is a hub for technology startups with national reach and attention from investment groups to established companies like Intel and many more.

 

As a new ATDC entrepreneur-in-residence, I primarily focus on mentoring healthcare and health IT executives from startup firms to young high-growth companies but I’m also afforded the opportunity to collaborate on current and future ATDC community-enhancing programs. Over the last few decades the Center has nurtured more than 150 successful startups into the marketplace and at any given time has another 40 in the pipeline.  It is certainly an exciting and rewarding time at a multitude of levels.

 

ATDC's affiliation with the Georgia Institute of Technology, alignment with the university’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, VentureLab’s center for technology commercialization and the Flashpoint startup accelerator program probably speaks for itself as to what kind of resources can be combined in technology hubs around the country.

 

The ATDC’s renown led to a visit by the United States’ first Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra on July 9 on the potential for transformative public-private technology initiatives was as inspiring as it was educational. I was fortunate enough to work with Aneesh while he was in the White House and it was great to hear about his current healthcare and open-skills data initiative projects as well as his new insightful book, Innovative State.

 

Whether it’s health IT or big data or financial technology firms being developed at ATDC, what’s been most inspiring is not so much an open-source technology as the open-source mindset of sharing and collaboration that is fostered.

 

In healthcare, the ATDC is nurturing firms like Rimidi Diabetes, Inc., which was officially launched in Washington, D.C. at the mHealth Summit and went on to test its cloud-based platform with a California-based accountable care organization. This algorithm-based technology merging blood glucose levels with fitness and behavioral metrics is a positive gain for the much-needed advancement in quality and outcomes-based healthcare.

 

Another community success story, BluMenlo, provides physicians and clinicians with a mobile application providing live procedural checklists of proper clinical care that is leading to increased patient safety and decreased preventable medical errors that contribute to about 800,000 annual deaths and cost hospitals roughly $7 billion a year. These are staggering numbers and it’s encouraging that startup brain trusts are tackling real issues, which does not go unnoticed by the growth capital community.

 

As you can tell, I am highly energetic and optimistic about our Atlanta-based technology innovations, but more so about our nation’s renewed entrepreneurial spirit and blessed opportunities in many important markets and sectors that our country and global economies are thirsting for.

 

I would encourage everyone in the corporate sector and certainly the health and care provider community to welcome or become involved with the startup or incubation community in your part of the country. There are exciting innovations that your organizations could pilot or implement that will positively affect your bottom-line in every way. In my healthcare realm, I see powerful cost-effective and efficient innovations that dramatically increase patient safety, improve care quality, advance patient engagement, save millions of dollars and best of all, save lives.

 

What questions about health IT innovation do you have?

 

As a healthcare executive and strategist, Justin Barnes is an industry and technology advisor and also serves as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center. In addition, Mr. Barnes is Chairman Emeritus of the HIMSS EHR Association as well as Co-Chairman of the Accountable Care Community of Practice.

 

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