Posts Tagged ‘healthcare’


Discover Global Markets: Healthcare Connections Provides Expert Resources to Help U.S. Firms Expand Healthcare Exports

October 25, 2016

This post is co-authored by U.S. Commercial Service Seattle Director Diane Mooney and Global Healthcare Team Leader Tembi Secrist who shared the lead in organizing the recent Discover Global Markets: Healthcare Connections business forum.

Hundreds of healthcare sector exporters from 33 states convened in Seattle, Washington recently for the U.S. Commercial Service’s Discover Global Markets: Healthcare Connections business forum to access the expert resources needed to identify and capitalize on new international market opportunities.


U.S. Commercial Service International Trade Specialist Young Oh counsels a U.S. firm on export strategies during the Discover Global Markets: Healhcare Connections business forum in Seattle, Washington.

The forum highlighted the importance of exports on the U.S. economy.  “SMEs are an engine of economic growth,” said CS Deputy Director General Judy Reinke in remarks to conference attendees. “What you do in the global market affects the health of billions of people.” Reinke presented the below three firms with Export Achievement Certificates to recognize their international successes and the associated positive impacts on their local communities:

  • Pleasanton, California-based Theradome Inc. recently exported a device for treating hair loss to the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore, and anticipates export sales of $1 million to these markets over the coming year.
  • San Jose, California-based BrighTex Bio-Photonics provides diagnostic technology to the medical imaging industry and recently exported products worth $100 thousand to Chile.
  • Kirkland, Washington-based Precision Image Analysis, Inc. processes diagnostic healthcare images and obtains 60 percent of total sales revenue from exports.

“It was a unique forum which brought together high-level intelligence from international markets, one-on-one meetings with U.S. Commercial Service industry specialists from around the world, and meetings with potential buyers and partners,” said attendee Francis Parnell, M.D., chairman and CEO of Parnell Pharmaceuticals.  “The U.S. Commercial Service stands out as a government agency that truly supports the private sector.   As a small U.S. company founder and CEO, I know they’re on my side and want to help me succeed.”

During the three-day conference, attendees heard from more than 50 healthcare speakers including industry leaders from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft, and GE Healthcare Clinical Business Solutions. Participants also joined interactive panel sessions addressing market opportunities in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and South America; as well as sessions focused on the impact of big data on global health, trends in medical travel, and regional regulatory and policy issues.

U.S. firms obtained up-to-the-minute market intelligence and export advice from U.S. Commercial Service (CS) specialists from 22 countries. In fact, 491 one-on-one counseling sessions were conducted with exporters during the 2 ½ day conference.

Additionally, U.S. exporters had the chance to meet with 17 foreign buyers from 10 countries who were interested in sourcing U.S. healthcare goods and services including health IT systems, medical devices, hospital HVAC systems and pharmaceuticals. The CS arranged nearly 270 meetings between 84 U.S. exporters and the buyers, resulting in at least 10 deals made during the conference.  More sales are expected based upon feedback from U.S. firms and buyers.

The chance to network was another valuable component of the forum.  In fact, Joel Rydbeck of Infor, who attended the Discover Global Markets: Healthcare Connections forum, said, “It was truly one of the more valuable events I’ve attended this year and I want to thank you for the helpful networking connections I was able to make.”

As Acting Under Secretary of International Trade Ken Hyatt said during his opening remarks, ITA provides a wide range of data and services to help small businesses identify market opportunities.  For those who were not able to attend the Discover Global Markets: Healthcare Connections event or would like additional information on international healthcare sector opportunities, please visit the CS Global Healthcare Team website and review the market reports listed below.

Health Technologies Resource Guide 

Top Markets Series Reports:

Health IT 

Medical Devices


The next event in the Discover Global Markets series focuses on building smart cities and will be held in Chicago on Nov. 1-3. More information about the event can be found here.


An Economist’s View: Using Trade Data to Predict the Final Four

April 4, 2014

Natalie Soroka is an economist in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Trade and Economic Analysis. She spends more time focusing on international trade statistics and trends than on basketball…

Economist Natalie Soroka used trade data and an unorthodox equation to predict the winner of the Final Four. Her prediction is Wisconsin beating Florida.

Economist Natalie Soroka used trade data and an unorthodox equation to predict the winner of the Final Four.

The emotional whirlwind of March Madness is nearing a close, with the Final Four teams getting ready to face off this Saturday. Brackets have been busted, face paint smeared with tears, hearts have been broken, and our Cinderellas have turned into pumpkins, but it’s not over yet!

Who will be victorious? Is there anything in the trade data that can give us a clue? Let’s give it a try, shall we?


One can reason that there are several aspects (“variables”, if you will) that can help a team attain the title of national champion:

  • skills or talent,
  • nutrition to keep players healthy,
  • healthcare and medicine to take care of injuries, and
  • supplies for actually playing the game.

In other words, to be a little “mathy” about it (just bear with me):

Winning = ƒ(skills, nutrition, healthcare, supplies) + ε

Translation: Winning is a function of the variables listed above, plus that little “ε” at the end, which would be the error term indicating that there are various things we aren’t able to account for (Mercer, anyone?).

So if we were to try and look at these four variables in an extremely simple analysis, using the very same publicly available data we use to counsel U.S. exporters, can we predict a winner?


Skills and Talent:

We may not have data readily available on “skill” or “talent,” but as these players are all represent educational institutions, we can assume that the state’s educational services industry plays a role.

Among the four states represented in the Final Four, Florida has the largest educational services industry by far, amounting to nearly $8 billion in 2012, topping Connecticut’s respectable $4.7 billion. On the Midwest/West side, Wisconsin’s $2.7 billion educational services industry tops Kentucky’s $1.1 billion.

But what about exports? After all, we are the International Trade Administration. The Institute of International Education collects information on foreign students hosted by U.S. universities, which can be used as a proxy for higher education exports. While not all players are international students, one could reason that a school (or state) that has international appeal is also one that would be able to pull the best talent.

Using the IIE’s data (which we also highlighted in a blog post last week), the University of Florida tops the list with 5,961 foreign students. The University of Wisconsin again has the upper hand over Kentucky here, with 5,291 international students. Finally, we can take into account each university’s seed at the beginning of the tournament as an indicator of the team’s record and other skills not captured above. Who comes out on top?


University of Florida v. University of Connecticut: Florida

University of Wisconsin v. University of Kentucky: Wisconsin     


Healthy eating makes for healthy people and athletes. Looking at state import data, Florida tops the list for its imports of products such as meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, and grains. However, isn’t Wisconsin in the Midwest, the home of those “amber waves of grain”? In fact, with its $4.5 billion farming industry in 2011, Wisconsin does come out on top among these states, followed by Florida, Kentucky, and Connecticut.

Finally, we can take a look at who imports the most processed foods, the “bad guy” du jour when it comes to health. Despite being known for its citrus fruits and water springs, Florida blows its competitors out of the water with $1.9 billion in processed foods imports in 2013, worsening its overall nutrition rating. Instead, Kentucky comes out on top with only $233 million of processed foods imports.

So who wins the “healthiness” battle? Looks like those amber waves really help.


University of Florida v. University of Connecticut: Florida

University of Wisconsin v. University of Kentucky: Wisconsin     


As we’ve all seen, injuries sadly do occur. When these unfortunate events take place, good healthcare services and medical supplies are necessary to fix up young players and get them back on the court.

Again, we see Florida rising to the top over Connecticut with its $67.5 billion healthcare services industry in 2012, and Wisconsin topping Kentucky at $23.5 billion. With regards to medical supplies, Kentucky tops the rest of these states when it comes to imports of pharmaceutical products, with $4.6 billion of imports in 2013. However, for medical and surgical instruments, Florida again tops the list with nearly $2.3 billion of imports in 2013, followed by Wisconsin’s $1.5 billion of imports.

Overall, Florida wins on healthcare, driven by its large industry and imports of medical instruments.


University of Florida v. University of Connecticut: Florida

University of Wisconsin v. University of Kentucky: Wisconsin     

Sports Supplies:

What good is a basketball team if there’s no basketball to dunk?

Kentucky topped these states when it comes to imports of inflatable balls (including basketballs), at $35 million in 2013. As for other supplies, Wisconsin rose to the top in imports of athletic footwear, coming in at $70 million in 2013.

Finally, to keep the athletes in shape off the court, Wisconsin again topped the list with $105 million in imports of general gym equipment, pushing the state to the top of this category.


University of Florida v. University of Connecticut: Florida

University of Wisconsin v. University of Kentucky: Wisconsin     

So where does that leave us? If we average out the “scores” for each state/team, we wind up with one state’s economy pushing its team to the top:

University of Wisconsin (Go Badgers!)

However, if my personal bracket is any indication, that “little ‘ε’” isn’t quite so little, so you may be best off just throwing a dart and picking one at random. Generating purely random scores for the Final Four teams, we wind up with (……drumroll…….):

University of Florida (Yay Gators!)

Using random selection, Natalie's bracket points to Florida beating Kentucky in the championship.

How will this analysis fare? Will data help the Badgers win the day, or is the championship at the mercy of the court gods? I suppose there’s only one way to find out.

Enjoy the games!


No economists were harmed during the creation of this off-the-cuff and highly spurious analysis. The author drew on extensive basketball experience gained from middle-school gym class, casual sports viewership, and years of practice using the esteemed “mascot method” of bracket picking.

Domestic production data is the latest available from the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ Regional Economic Accounts. State import data was retrieved from ITA’s TradeStats Express platform: