HHS start-up tour to stop in Nashville to connect companies to agency channels

Graphic courtesy/Nashville Health Care Council

Federal health officials are going out on a roadshow to meet entrepreneurs because they don’t want to miss out on the innovation expected to sculpt the health care industry over the next decade.

Start-ups, entrepreneurs and private investors are often stymied by how to work with the U.S. Department of Human Services, or wonder if HHS even wants to work with them, so Bruce Greenstein, chief technology officer, wants to “be very crisp about how our process works.”

The roadshow, which will travel to 13 cities, stops in Nashville on June 6.

Greenstein, speaking at a StartUp Health event, said it’s important for companies to know that working with a federal agent is not too different from the process to get into a contract with a BlueCross insurer.

“We want that to be extremely transparent, we want to show there are opportunities, and we don’t want to miss out on the next five to seven years of what great companies are doing,” said Greenstein. “I want to compete with the private sector.”

The start-up day will include pitch sessions that will give the audience a chance to hear how federal officials respond and comment about the companies’ proposals.

The opportunity to meet and hear from federal officials who fund a huge portion of the health care ecosystem is important for companies, ranging from small ventures to corporations, said Hayley Hovious, president of the Nashville Health Care Council.

Companies are trying to infuse technology and structural reorganizations to make the delivery of care more effective and cost effective. Investors are interested in companies that are shining light into corners of the market that haven’t been scrutinized, or even modernized.

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Parts of Nashville’s health care community — long a backbone of hospital operators and the peripheral vendors — have been trying to evolve its image and strength into a hub of innovation and technology.

The start-up day is hosted by a team of the city’s economic, health care and technology leaders: Center for Medical Interoperability, Entrepreneur Center, Life Science Tennessee, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Nashville Health Care Council, Nashville Technology Council and Tennessee HIMSS.

Hovious and Greenstein both mentioned the need to make sure there are direct connections from health care hubs into federal departments.

“Companies need to be looking down the road so they can shift along with the great force that is the government,” said Hovious. “Nashville is where the rubber meets the road. I hope (HHS) leaves Nashville thinking, ‘wow, what a group.’”

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