HOME / Upstate SC Blog / The Pulse on Healthcare in the Upstate
Upstate SC Alliance Blog View all Posts

The Pulse on Healthcare in the Upstate

March 24, 2017
The Upstate’s economic health is closely tied to the health of its people. Luckily, not only can we boast health care facilities that make state and national rankings, but the Upstate is home to companies making an impact in diverse aspects of the industry. Today’s complex health care environment means hospital visits, genomic diagnostics, telemedicine, mobile apps, and more – and the Upstate has a foothold in all of those areas. 
In many cases, we have more than a foothold: we have recognition. 

Health is a notable area in the long list of accolades South Carolina and the Upstate have garnered in recent years. In fact, the Upstate can claim leadership in nearly every aspect of health care, from diagnostic technologies to hospital facilities, to devices and even health management technology aimed at consumers. Recognitions in recent years include: 
  • South Carolina ranks #1 on the Health Care Policy Cost Index 2012: Ranking the States Per Policies Affecting the Cost of Health Coverage. The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council’s Health Care Policy Cost Index 2012 ranks the states according to eight policy measures that impact the cost of health care.
  • On the 2012 U.S. News & World Report list of Best Hospitals in South Carolina, Greenville Memorial Hospital ranked #2 in the state and received a national ranking of #41 for Diabetes & Endocrinology and recognition for 10 high-performing specialties. Spartanburg Regional Medical Center ranked #3 in South Carolina and was recognized for 10 high-performing specialties. Anderson’s AnMed Health ranked #7 in the state and was recognized for two high-performing specialties.
  • Four Upstate hospitals were among the Most Wired Hospitals and Health Systems for 2015, according to the 2016 HealthCare’s Most Wired survey: AnMed Health, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, Pelham Medical Center and Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.
  • Spartanburg Regional Medical Center ranks #2 on the 2015 U.S. News and World Report list of the Best Hospitals in South Carolina, down one spot from the previous year. AnMed Health in Anderson tied for #5 and Bon Secours St. Francis Downtown Greenville ranked #7.

Employment Impact 

Upstate employment in local health services increased 9.7 percent between 2011 and 2016, outpacing national growth at 9.4 percent.

The industry accounted for 66,509 Upstate clinical jobs with average earnings of $65,197 – higher than the national average of $64,915. The leading percentages of these jobs are held by registered nurses, nursing assistants, medical assistants, personal care aides, and licensed practitioner and vocational nurses. Additional employers of these occupations include dental laboratories, pharmacies, optical goods, physician and dental offices, diagnostics and imaging, home health agencies and family planning centers.  

The Upstate’s biopharmaceuticals sector is also an area of growth that exceeds the national average. This life science cluster accounts for 1,401 Upstate jobs, 17 percent above the national average. Upstate biopharmaceutical employment far outpaced national growth between 2011 and 2016, with a 19.4 percent increase in local jobs while the nation only saw a 5.5 percent increase. Within the Upstate, average earnings per biopharmaceutical job are $82,006, below the national average of $154,939, making it a strong location for a business to maximize its activity. 
Major employers in the biopharmaceuticals industry include Perrigo Co. of South Carolina and Smith Drug Co.

Smaller employers include Pharmaceutical Associates and PL Developments, which on in December 2016 announced new Greenville operations with $45 million in capital investment and creation of 450 new jobs. Another major regional employer is the Greenwood Genetic Center, which in January 2017 announced a $5.4 million expansion to enhance its molecular and metabolomic testing


Innovation and Support Industries

Accomplishments of individual companies also stand out on their own. One of the biggest recent success stories is Chartspan, a “health & lifestyle company enabling patients to capture, store, and share personal health records on their smartphone, computer or tablet.” After a stint at the NEXT Innovation Center, a hub for tech-focused entrepreneurs, Chartspan this summer announced a $3.2 million capital investment in 100,000 square-feet of office space on Greenville’s Main Street. What’s more, the company is the midst of a 300-person hiring spree announced in the summer fo 2016.  
Chartspan had come to the Upstate by way of The Iron Yard’s Health Technology accelerator in Spartanburg, and decided to permanently relocate because of the experience. The Health Tech accelerator hosted three cohorts over two years until 2015, and signaled to the world the Upstate’s potential as a health tech hub. 
Our hospitals are just as wired as our tech companies, according to Hospitals & Health Networks, which has listed AnMed Health in Anderson, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System in Greenville, Pelham Medical Center in Greer, and Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System among the most wired in the country in 2016. That means they’ve tackled issues such as cybersecurity and maneuvered the move from volume- to value-based pricing (an emerging healthcare solution wherein doctors and hospitals are paid for keeping healthy people healthy and improving the health of those with chronic conditions in an evidence-based, cost-effective way). They’re also connecting to remote patients, and making it easier to share health records. 
Health systems and entrepreneurship are coming together in full force at the Greenville Health System Health Sciences Center Office of Innovation, which brings healthcare practitioners, researchers, and life sciences companies together to generate innovation and give patients access to superior healthcare offerings. The program builds on a strong array of life sciences assets already in place.
In a region where chronic health issues are a problem for many, there’s comfort in knowing that the Upstate is a place where healthcare needs can be met. And as the region works to attract talent, there’s even more comfort in the fact that the Upstate has made solid inroads from nearly every angle into the multifaceted and ever-growing healthcare industry. 
TOPICS: Rankings & Recognitions