Virtual alliances erase distance

Biomed centers are, not surprisingly, courting each other’s staff just as hospitals have always done. Top hospitals have always teamed up with top medical schools in competition for research dollars and are now using the Internet to expand the possibilities—and the distance between partners. Can a thousand-mile distance be overcome by technology? Houston’s already planning to host two world-class medical research facilities, and now it’s adding a third by virtually networking with Cornell in New York.

Patients will still get sick locally, but new virtual competitive alliances will expand the reach of research stars and the spread of research dollars. For Cleveland—where the competition between giants Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals is legendary—it means a lesson in globalization and the happy news that the research pond just got a lot bigger. Instead of complaining that med staff who fraternize with others are disloyal, we have the option to put IT resources to work and come up with some dream-team virtual matchmaking of our own.