Viewpoint: Nashville should do more to become a health IT hub

Nashville, Tenn., isn't living up to its potential to become a health IT leader, writes C. Eric Elmquist, PhD, executive director of the nonprofit BioTN Foundation, in a letter to the editor for The Tennessean.

In his letter, Dr. Elmquist cites a 2016 Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program report examining Nashville's health IT potential. The report states the city has taken steps to improve its "entrepreneurial ecosystem," but adds it must "step up its game" to become a national innovation hub.

Dr. Elmquist says the research pouring out of Nashville-based Vanderbilt  University is being ignored by Nashville's technology sector and instead funneled to innovation hubs like San Francisco, Boston and Atlanta. What those cities have that Nashville does not is supportive infrastructure — "like lab facilities and a trained workforce" — that helps to "turn ideas into cash," Dr. Elmquist writes.

He calls on Nashville leadership to develop the technology sector, as well as adjacent sectors, like biotech and life sciences.

"If we build a proper incubator space for life science, start investing in bio infrastructure development and diversify our tech offerings, money would pour into the area," Dr. Elmquist writes.

Click here to read the full letter to the editor.

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