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Nashville answer to Brookings HealthIT challenge to emerge within 120 days
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IT'S NEARLY TIME to set direction and priorities: Nashville's industry, tech and civic leaders plan to disclose between now and July 14 their gameplan for securing this region's role as "the national leader in healthcare innovation."

Though operational details remain cloaked and/or in development, one ingredient they say they'll present publicly within 120 days is centered around what is known as as Person-Centered Connected Health, which the task force describes as "a business, government and community-led partnership to transition health care to a person-centered, person-driven and technology-enabled model. This model will utilize digital technology to give consumers more control over and responsibility for their healthcare..."

Courtney Cotton

Those promises arrived yesterday from a local task force comprised of executives representing Nashville Technology Council, Nashville Health Care Council, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Center for Medical Interoperability, TN HIMSS, Mayor's Office of Economic & Community Development, Vanderbilt University and other technology and business leaders.

The update was delivered by Chamber VP Courtney Cotton, responding to a Venture Nashville query.

Although some related initiatives were previously underway, local action was spurred more than six months ago by the Brookings Institution publication of a report titled, "From health care capital to innovation hub: Positioning Nashville as a Leader in health IT". Prior coverage here.

The report's authors have warned Nashvillians that other U.S. cities may be better positioned to establish healthtech leadership, thus Nashville must move adroitly.

While competitors such as Boston and San Francisco are among Nashville's most often-cited competitors, Atlanta's hypepotamus reported last year that Atlantans were spreading the word that "Atlanta is proclaiming its rightful role as the epicenter of Health IT." The Atlanta Chamber is now spreading that word aggressively, as noted here and here.

Moreoever, there are at least a half-dozen other U.S. cities that consider themselves contenders for the same leadership mantle.

The Brookings report sets out a batch of recommendations under three themes. The full report is here. Paraphrased, the recommendations are as follow:

Expand regional infrastructure

  • Create simple tech transfer contracts that facilitate IP commercialization, licensing and research sponsorship.
  • Support young software firms' efforts to market and export their offerings outside the Nashville region.
  • Form a consortium of tech firms seeking ties with healthcare firms, labs and service providers.
  • Create a healthcare data innovation working group shaped by healthcare innovators, entrepreneurs, technologists and major sector corporates.
  • Leverage the Nashville-based Center for Medical Interoperability (CMI).

Build the HIT skills base

  • Produce more local software and digital talent using the Belmont University-TN-HiMSS model and/or those of (e.g.) LaunchCode, the AHIMA Foundation's apprenticeship program, or others.
  • Establish Nashville as a center for sub-baccalaureate degrees and HIT credentials through the Tennessee Promise program.

Deepen the HIT ecosystem

  • Launch a CEO network to attract global management talent to Nashville to help young companies attract capital and grow by securing major HIT customers
  • Sponsor coding user groups and integrate them into major health care firms.
  • Mount a HIT data-discovery challenge with corporate-sponsored competitions to create new software applications.
  • Strengthen ties between entrepreneurs and sector incumbents via (e.g.) Jumpstart Foundry, Nashville Entrepreneur Center Project Healthcare, et al.
  • Develop and implement a brand and marketing strategy supporting Nashville's HIT role and talent recruitment.

Cotton said "owners" have been assigned for each task force initiative and a detailed implementation plan is in-the-works. She added that portions of the overall plan "are quite complex and will require additional time and resources to complete."

The Nashville-based Center for Medical Interoperability (CMI), which is mentioned above under the regional infrastructure theme, aims to perform vendor-neutral technical work that enables "person-centered care," testing and certification of devices and systems, and promotion of industry adoption of scalable solutions.

Ed Cantwell

In fact, CMI CEO Ed Cantwell is scheduled April 13 to address the "Connected Healthcare" conference, in New York. The event draws attendees from both healthcare and cable system operator ranks.

During that conference, Cantwell is to address person-centered connected health, with emphasis on the role of technical standards in ensuring that medical devices and vendor platforms can interoperate effectively, thereby improving patient safety, care quality and outcomes, while reducing clinical burden and waste, according to the conference website.

There are other potentially complementary initiatives afoot nationally, including the HiMSS-sponsored Personal Connected Alliance, based in Arlington, Va.

The Brookings researchers said they conducted more than 30 local interviews to augment what they gleaned from numerous datasets and other research, in preparing their report. On page 43 of their report, they list about two-dozen interviewees.

The report's authors also express gratitude to HCA Healthcare, one of the sponsors of Brookings' Metropolitan Policy Program, the unit through which this work was done by Brookings researchers Scott Andes, John Ng, Carolyn Gatz and Mark Muro. VNC

. last edited 1307 18 march 2017

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Tags: Brookings Institution, Carolyn Gatz, Center for Medical Interoperability, Courtney Cotton, economic development, Ed Cantwell, HiMSS, John Ng, Mark Muro, Mayor Megan Barry, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Nashville Health Care Council, Nashville Technology Council, Ralph Schulz, Scott Andes

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