Interoperability, Drones, Tech Hubs & More: This Week’s WI Watchlist

Stay current on news from Wisconsin’s innovation community with these recent headlines.

—The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an in-depth report on electronic patient health records interoperability, or the ability of different hospitals and clinics to exchange patient data. Ninety-six percent of hospitals now use electronic health records, the newspaper reported, but the industry still has a long way to go. The ultimate goal envisioned in a 2010 White House report on using technology to improve healthcare is making all systems “interoperable and intercommunicating, so that a single authorized query can locate a patient’s records.” Journal Sentinel reporter Guy Boulton spoke with an executive at Verona-based Epic Systems, a leading health records software vendor, and other healthcare leaders for the report.

—Foxconn, a Taiwanese electronics manufacturing giant that is known for producing iPhones and other mobile devices at factories in China, is considering building a plant in Wisconsin. President Donald Trump visited the Milwaukee area on Tuesday and hinted at the prospect of a large manufacturer expanding into Wisconsin and creating jobs there; the next day, the Associated Press reported that the company he was referencing was Foxconn.

The Journal Sentinel subsequently advanced the story by reporting that Foxconn submitted a request for proposals to multiple Wisconsin municipalities about a month ago. The company reportedly said in the RFP that it wanted to build its plant on a 1,000-acre site. The newspaper also reported that Foxconn is considering making large television panels in the U.S. following its purchase of Sharp in 2016. Sharp is based in Japan, where Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker made an unannounced visit earlier this month, according to the report.

—The University of Wisconsin-Madison said it recently created a class that teaches students how to fly drones. Students will take a certification exam sanctioned by the Federal Aviation Administration. If they pass, they’ll be permitted to operate drones for commercial purposes, the university said.

Separately, UW-Madison has enacted a new policy that it said will help instructors and researchers on campus meet the FAA rules for flying drones.

—Brookfield-based Fiserv (NASDAQ: FISV) agreed to pay more than $89 million to acquire Monitise, a U.K.-based developer of mobile payments software and other digital tools for financial institutions. Fiserv sells software that banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions use to process deposits and manage general ledgers, among other things. The deal is the latest in a string of Fiserv acquisitions since the company was formed in 1984.

—Oak Creek-based Master Lock introduced lock boxes equipped with Bluetooth technology that allow users to grant others access to their homes remotely via a smartphone app. Master Lock said the products could be useful for real estate companies that need to give their agents access to properties ahead of showings. The company’s website lists two Bluetooth lock boxes, which sell for $162.50 and $172.50.

—Madison made Cushman & Wakefield’s list of the country’s top 10 tech cities. In its explanation of what makes Madison a good city for tech workers, the Chicago-based real estate company cited the growth of Epic Systems and next year’s expected opening of StartingBlock Madison, a center for entrepreneurs being built in the city’s downtown. Tech employees make up 7.9 percent of Madison’s workforce, higher than the national average of 4.8 percent, according to Cushman & Wakefield (PDF).

—Startups in Wisconsin raised more than $276 million in 2016—a 6 percent increase over the previous year—according to a report published by the Wisconsin Technology … Next Page »

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Jeff Buchanan is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jbuchanan@xconomy.com Follow @_jeffbuchanan

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