The Nashville Health Care Council proudly calls Music City the capital of the healthcare industry. But why Nashville?
The industry dominance dates back to the 1968 founding of the Hospital Corporation of America, said Courtney Ross of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, adding that the sector truly exploded around the one company.
“Nashville has been a healthcare capital for many decades, so I think what's happening now is that more and more companies are either starting here or moving here and realizing what incredible critical mass there is of decision makers for healthcare companies in town,” Ross said.
There are nearly 400 companies in the Nashville region that employ 250,000 people in all corners of the healthcare marketplace, according to the local healthcare council. The industry injects $38.8 billion into the Nashville region.
Add in the relatively affordable cost of living and a vast talent pool, the conditions lead to continued industry growth.
That perfect storm is what lured Healthcare Management Partners, one of Nashville’s newest healthcare companies.
“Nashville is a healthcare hub,” said Clare Moylan, managing director of Healthcare Management Partners. “I was really impressed with Nashville and the food and the energy of the city and the fact that it's really growing and everyone is talking about it. That got me excited about Nashville personally, and then I started to learn more about the concentration of healthcare talent in Nashville. At the same time, I was appointed as managing director, and it really became up to me to pick where we wanted to headquarter the business.”
Healthcare Management Partners, or HMP, offers consulting services to help lift an organization out of financial distress. HMP has worked with a wide range of corporations, including Bank of America, Blue Cross of Tennessee, Baylor College of Medicine and LifePoint Hospitals.
Tasked with growing the company, Moylan locked eyes on Nashville and began hiring. The company currently employs five people based in Music City, but Moylan said plans call to more than double that number by next year. HMP also operates offices in Philadelphia, San Antonio, Phoenix and Birmingham, Alabama.
“A lot of hospitals are headquartered in Nashville and they employ thousands of people, so already you've got the best healthcare talent concentrated in a few large companies,” she said. “That is like a magnet to bring other healthcare businesses to Nashville. Everything gravitates here because of the presence of those significant large companies.”
Ross said HMP’s decision to base its operation in Nashville strengthens the city’s grip on the healthcare world.
“It's significant that HMP has decided to open up an office here because it's really proving what we've been saying all along: It's important to be here and have a position here if you're in this business,” Ross said.
Ross expressed confidence in Nashville’s footing as a healthcare hub into the future, adding that the next opportunity for growth is in healthcare technology and innovation.
HMP is on that path with its data program, HMP Metrics. The electronic system is a massive data warehouse of more than 200,000 healthcare cost reports over 22 years. HMP currently uses the data for internal use, but the firm is developing a website to offer subscription-based services. The product is expected to hit the market within eight months, according to the company.
Nashville is poised for significant growth in its healthcare IT market, according to an August 2016 Brookings report, which stated that the region "possesses a unique opportunity to leverage its strengths in health management in developing a unique (health IT) cluster."
The study called on local healthcare leaders to invest in innovation infrastructure and grow the health IT sector.
“This Bookings study really indicates that Nashville should be the place that this growth takes place. Technology is just an incredible piece of healthcare these days, and it's only going to get bigger,” Ross said.