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Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

Leader Board: Orange County’s Golden Healthcare Triangle

Editor’s Note: Jim Mazzo is one of the world’s top executives in the ophthalmology industry, having served as chief executive at Advanced Medical Optics and global president of Carl Zeiss Meditec.

He is executive chairman for Neurotech Pharmaceuticals, a retinal implant company; executive chair at Centricity Vision and Trukera and serves on the boards of LensGen and Iantrek.

He’s also on the boards of several nonprofits including Medical Device and Manufacturers Association, American Academy of Ophthalmology Foundation, Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, NASA’s Mission to Mars and the Anaheim Ducks Foundation.

He is a founder and past chairman of Octane, a member of the International Intraocular Implant Club (lllC) and serves on the UCI Foundation and as vice chair trustee at Chapman University. The Business Journal’s Special Report on Biotech and Biomed begins on page 17.

A strategic shift is occurring that could make Orange County the hub for the future of healthcare.

A growing and aging population that will need more care is occurring at the same time as an aging workforce of physicians nearing retirement.

In the United States, we are facing a shortage of doctors. University of California, Irvine’s School of Medicine is doing an exceptional job filling the educational needs for new physicians.

However, with this growing phenomenon of more patients and less doctors there will continue to be a need to find new and efficient ways to optimize patient care.

The pandemic has also put extreme stress on the healthcare system, leading to workforce shortages as well as increased healthcare worker burnout. Orange County is in a great position to help find solutions to address these challenges with our unique combination of technology and healthcare companies, and new medical facilities and universities that are producing world class research.

You could say that we have a “golden healthcare triangle” that doesn’t exist in many other major cities or hubs.

The Green, Red, Yellow System

Personalization and optimization of patient care requires physicians to streamline efficiencies in their practice to ensure that each patient is receiving the necessary treatment.

For example, in ophthalmology, patients generally fall into three categories green, red or yellow.

Green patients are stable, everything is okay and can use telehealth to consult with their doctor. They may have a home monitoring or implantable device to track their progress.

Red patients have an urgent need for care and must be treated immediately by a specialist.

Yellow patients need further diagnosis to determine if they have a complex issue, which requires additional time to go through diagnostic images, run tests and look at patient data to determine the best treatment options.

Patient data is critical in helping the physician make the right decision for personalization of care for all three categories. It’s most important for patients classified as yellow, where data will help the doctor best understand the patient history to make a more accurate diagnosis.

It’s clear that physicians and clinical practices need better data to diagnose diseases quicker and more efficiently.

The ability to use data and artificial intelligence to proactively manage patient care is already present in Orange County. We are perfectly set up at the intersection of technology and healthcare.

The Companies

Masimo is a great example. They became known for making oxygen machines so accurate that they are commonplace in hospitals. Their innovative monitoring technologies have significantly improved patient care-helping solve “unsolvable” problems and they are building a health data system to support the needs of consumers.

One of Orange County’s most valuable publicly traded companies, Edwards Lifesciences, is a world leader in cardiovascular systems. When they introduce a new product, it is now designed to help treat patients and monitor their progress. So, the device collects data that will be beneficial in the long term.

Orange County has world-class technology companies that know how to collect data like analytics software maker Alteryx and chipmakers Broadcom and Skyworks Solutions, both of whom are big suppliers to Apple.

Before, tech companies concentrated on selling their products to go into computers, then phones and nowadays cars and televisions.

Healthcare, which was a secondary thought, is becoming such an important business that some tech companies like Microsoft and Google are setting up healthcare units.

Other companies in Orange County making groundbreaking healthcare products using the latest in technology include Allergan, Johnson & Johnson, Ambry Genetics, CompuGroup Medical, NextGen Healthcare, Kareo, Episource and Glaukos. RxSight is featured in this week’s front page.

Gaming in Healthcare

Gaming is a hot opportunity with many of the techniques now becoming useful in healthcare.

Earlier this year, the Business Journal featured Hoag surgeons who performed spine surgery with the help of a hologram. Surgeons used gaming-type headsets first to practice the surgery and then conduct the actual one. Much of the needed information was shown in the headset during the surgery.

The gaming industry created that market.

Orange County has a significant gaming industry, led by Activision Blizzard Entertainment, OC’s largest software employer with 2,450 employees.

Medical device companies are hiring gamers to create solutions to advance patient care.
Universities and New Hospitals

Local universities are recruiting students and faculties who specialize in technology, which creates educational opportunities to expand disciplines.

For example, students who attend business school are also taking classes in engineering, which gives these future executives a better understanding of the possibilities they can make to the future of health care.

UCI Health is spending more than a billion dollars to build a new hospital complex on its campus, which will help create health synergy in the area.

It’s not alone—the City of Hope, Hoag and Providence are also spending billions to build new hospitals and clinics.

These expenditures demonstrate three clear things:
– These systems are showing great confidence in the future of healthcare in Orange County.
– Patients with illnesses will no longer have to travel outside the county to get the best treatments.
– These systems are installing the best and newest equipment, which will help attract some of the best researchers worldwide. These scientists don’t want to go to old facilities. They want modern facilities where they can do research.

At Chapman, we created a pharmacy school where graduates will have the education to make an impact in society through advancing new treatments and the next generation of great pharmaceuticals.

An unbelievable healthcare synergy is ongoing right now in Orange County. It’s pretty cool to witness what will happen in the next five years.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.

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