Skip to content Skip to navigation

Nashville Could Become Next Major Health IT Hub, Report Finds

August 25, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

Nashville, Tenn. very well could become the next big health IT “hub” in the U.S., according to a new analysis from the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program.

According to the report, “A national center of hospital management, the Nashville area possesses important expertise relevant to HIT, including in clinical care, disease management, behavioral health and wellness, diagnostic testing, data management, and the management of physician transactions.” Rooted in the founding of the Hospital Corporation of America, Nashville’s unique healthcare cluster encompasses 15 publicly traded companies that own and operate nearly 40 percent of all investor-owned hospitals in the U.S. and more than 4,000 establishments engaged in some form of the business management and delivery of care, Brookings’ authors wrote.

And, according to a recent report in The Tennessean, healthcare investments accounted for about 60 percent of the $1.6 billion in Nashville-area venture capital investments over the last decade, per findings from the Nashville Capital Network and Nashville Health Care Council. “Young healthcare companies around Nashville received more than $940 million from 2005 to 2015, an explosion of venture capital investment that aligns with both the city’s rise to national prominence and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” that article stated.

However, the area will have to overcome some challenges, the Brookings’ fellows attested. “At the same time, the region’s university-based medical research lacks a heavy focus on IT, its solid medical and health business workforce remains thin on software competencies, and the area’s emerging tech ecosystem has not fully integrated efforts to sustain small-firm growth in HIT,” they wrote.

According to the report, the region’s traditional strengths in healthcare management imbue it with significant expertise in every aspect of how the system works—knowledge that should provide important competitive advantages even over regions with more extensive IT capabilities. “However, its traditional strengths also pose potential barriers. Its major proprietary healthcare systems compete against one another, making collaboration difficult, and, in the face of disruptive change, Nashville’s present success and the dominance of legacy industries could hamper movement into new directions. Further, studies of the region’s workforce have found significant skill gaps and weaknesses in IT fields, where both wages and pay increases have exceeded other sectors.”

As such, the analysis found that metropolitan Nashville possesses a unique opportunity to leverage its strengths in health management in developing a unique HIT cluster. To that end, the report recommends three actions by which Nashville (and other metros) strengthen their HIT ecosystem. These steps include: expand the region’s innovation infrastructure; build the HIT skills base; and deepen the HIT ecosystem.

Regarding the health IT vendor community, several top earners are headquartered in or around Nashville. According to this year’s Healthcare Informatics 100 ranking of the top 100 health IT revenue companies, two major vendors—Change Healthcare, a start-up acquired by Emdeon (#11) and HealthStream (#49) reside in Nashville, while multiple others on the list are located nearby in Franklin.

Topics

News

Healthcare Data Breaches: A Year in Review

The latest year-in-review Breach Barometer report from Protenus paints a stark picture—2016 average at least one health data breach per day, affecting more than 27 million patient records.

Healthcare Industry Could Save $9.4B with Full Adoption of Electronic Transactions

The healthcare industry continues to make modest progress toward full adoption of electronic business transactions, but significant gaps remain, representing an opportunity for $9.4 billion in savings, according to new data from the 2016 CAQH Index.

ONC Announces Phase 2 Winners of Consumer, Provider App Challenges

ONC today announced the Phase 2 winners for the Consumer Health Data Aggregator Challenge and the Provider User Experience Challenge.

Health Affairs: ACOs with High Numbers of Minority Patients Struggle in Quality

Accountable care organizations (ACOs) that have a high proportion of minority patients were associated with low scores on about three-fourths of Medicare quality performance measures, according to new research published in Health Affairs.

Trump Taps David Shulkin, an Obama Appointee, for VA Secretary

President-elect Donald Trump announced yesterday that David Shulkin, M.D.—an Obama administration appointee and current VA undersecretary—will lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.

NIST Publishes Draft Update to Cybersecurity Framework

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published proposed updates to the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity—also known as the Cybersecurity Framework.