Among U.S. advanced industries, significant attention has begun to focus on the promise for local economic development of a number of regional “health IT” (HIT) or “digital health” clusters. Given their promise, several regions have begun to implement strategies to strengthen local HIT clusters.
One metropolitan area that concentrates singular HIT assets is Nashville, Tennessee.
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. 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.
Given that, this report finds 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 assesses Nashville’s current positioning on HIT and 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
- Deepen the HIT ecosystem
“This is the way the world thinks about innovation; they don’t think about countries or states or metropolitan areas, or even cities, they think about districts,” he said. “You have that now, and you need to play it out.” [Report release event: Capturing the next economy: Pittsburgh’s rise as a global innovation city]