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Jonathan Bush Talks HIT Innovation at Nashville Health Care Council Event

April 16, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal
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During a recent Nashville Health Care Council event, athenahealth president and CEO Jonathan Bush discussed the affect that the region has on healthcare innovation, while also touching on the role of government in health IT.

With former U.S. Senator Bill Frist, M.D., as moderator for the April 6 event, more than 400 council members heard Bush’s candid perspective on entrepreneurship, the role that government should play in health IT, data’s impact on the future of care and the recent influx of disruptors entering the industry.

Bush, the outspoken leader of athenahealth, the Watertown, Mass.-based health IT vendor, challenged event attendees “to lean in to entrepreneurship and innovation within corporate structures in order to solve today’s complex healthcare issues. “Entrepreneurship is the act of filling a need we didn’t know we had,” Bush said. “It involves two ingredients—the mass, meaning the lives touched, and velocity, meaning how can we turn the crank a little more.”

He also talked about the need for greater interoperability in healthcare—something that is needed to foster innovation and solve today’s patient care problems. To this end, Bush cited physician burnout as one serious issue that could be greatly improved by embracing new solutions.

Bush also spoke on the role the feds should have in health IT innovation, noting that “Government has a role in encouraging innovation, but not doing the innovation. I think the job of government is to protect the garden and then let the garden grow. Currently, the government is both the referee and a player on the field,” he said.

What’s more, Bush opined that “Nashville’s social and cultural network effect in healthcare is unmatched. There is no other community like this anywhere else. If that social network can converge with a tech network effect—and I think it’s going to happen—it’s going to change the world.”

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