At the University of Chicago’s 2014 Innovation Week, a discussion emerged about what was missing from the city’s Life Sciences ecosystem. According to the panelists, Chicago had nearly everything – world class research facilities, universities and hospitals, the proximity to leading drug makers and biopharmaceutical corporations, healthtech entrepreneurs, and access to capital. What the city didn’t have was a “center for collision.”
On the coasts, “healthcare innovators are constantly bumping into VCs,” said Pat Flavin, MATTER’s Executive Director, at the event. Chicago needed, said Flavin, a place to facilitate connections and collaboration. That place became MATTER, the incubator, co-working space, and community for healthcare innovators that opened in February. In the ten months since MATTER launched, the Merch Mart-based facility has added over 115 members and nearly 60 corporate partners, including J.P. Morgan, Accenture, and Allscripts.
On Wednesday, MATTER continued to strengthen and broaden its role as a connector, launching the AMA Interaction Studio, a space that is designed specifically to bring entrepreneurs and physicians together. The Studio allows MATTER members to connect with AMA’s network of doctors in-person and remotely, “providing a unique technological test bed for optimizing new products in multiple, simulated medical settings.”
The 450 square foot Studio, as seen in this video, uses advanced video and audio technologies, next-gen exam room equipment, and immersive 3D projections to create simulations and learning experiences for healthtech entrepreneurs and physicians. But, most importantly, the Studio’s main function is to make it as easy as possible for MATTER’s members to get in touch with doctors.
Explained MATTER CEO Steve Collens in a statement, “The AMA Interaction Studio enables entrepreneurs and clinicians to collaborate with each other in a real-world, technology enabled environment to accelerate the development of meaningful new solutions to improve health and healthcare.”
Proving the effectiveness of the model is Fibroblast, a MATTER member that helps “coordinate referrals between doctors.” Added Fibroblast’s CEO Scott Vold, “Being able to interact with physicians, show them our solution and get their feedback is going to streamline our entire testing and production processes.”
The American Medical Association (AMA) has been involved with MATTER since its inception and the Interaction Studio represents the “next phase” in their relationship.
“Physicians and entrepreneurs are both passionate about transforming health care, and by working in tandem they can advance innovations that make the health system work better for everyone,” said AMA CEO and Executive Vice President James L. Madara, M.D.