Is Texas or Tennessee hungrier for blockchain innovation in healthcare?
In the blockchain innovation space, Nashville is home to leading companies including Hashed Health (Professional Credentials Exchange, Signal Stream, Bramble) and Change Healthcare (claims transparency on Fabric, Payments on DAML), the world’s largest healthcare blockchain conference Distributed Health, as well as leading efforts from our universities, especially Vanderbilt (Doug Schmidt, Dana Zhang, etc) and Lipscomb’s University (Kevin Clauson, Beth Breeden). The Greater Nashville Technology Council has also been an organizing force in bringing together the community through its support for the Nashville Blockchain Meetup which, as a community, has now grown to over 1,000 members locally. These initiatives demonstrate the hunger that exists in Nashville for innovation in the space.
Hashed Health has worked with several of these companies and universities on community building, market development, and development projects. But thus far our city has failed to convene networks that include the “huge healthcare organizations” in Nashville that Kahlon mentions.
After being involved in now three Nashville-based healthcare technology startups, my experience has taught me that innovators need to be careful about assuming too much from our Nashville champions. Their operational excellence is based on what has worked in the past, not what may work in the future. It’s a great city to scale up innovative, proven systems but the Nashville establishment, especially its large provider systems, does not always have the appetite to be the first.
That’s where Texas comes in. What Texas may lack in leading blockchain innovation projects, it makes up for in terms of the hunger to experiment and implement. It seems to have a head start in getting innovations off the ground. Projects founded in Nashville and elsewhere are finding receptive customers in Texas.
A few examples of the projects and companies focusing on the Texas market include:
- The Professional Credentials Exchange has found a partner in the Texas Hospital Association and looks to have Texas be a primary pilot market for this new way of credentialing physicians.
- Synaptic Alliance is piloting in Texas for its directory utility solution.
- According to Aman Quandri, Amchart, “is currently modifying components of Amchart to layer on top of an HIE in Texas to provide value added reports to providers as well as an upcoming patient portal.”
- HCSC, the largest customer owned health insurer in the US, has operations in Texas and has publicly announced they have joined a new alliance with Aetna and Anthem.
Austin’s healthcare innovation hub agenda, anchored by Dell Medical School, is one part of a larger innovation hub approach that now includes tech giants Amazon, Dell, IBM, Intel, Oracle and Apple. Apple alone employs 6200 in Austin and plans to become the largest private employer in Austin. Nashville’s largest private employers are Vanderbilt / Vanderbilt Medical Center at 26,400 and HCA at 10,180 employees. Dell Medical School, which opened in 2013, is emerging as a leader in the space and seems to be accelerating in the type of regional innovation initiatives that have not materialized around Vanderbilt.