On April 6, the Nashville Health Care Council hosted athenahealth CEO, President and Director Jonathan Bush for a lively discussion that covered a wide range of topics, from innovation and technology to patient privacy and policy. With U.S. Senator Bill Frist, M.D., as moderator, more than 400 Council members heard Bush’s candid perspective on entrepreneurship, the role of government in health IT, data’s impact on the future of care and the recent influx of disruptors entering the industry.
View event photos on Flickr.
Photo credit: (c) 2018, Donn Jones.
Since its founding in 1997, Bush has transformed the company from what was once a birthing practice in California to what is now considered the most universally connected health care network in the country. He challenged the audience to lean in to entrepreneurship and innovation within corporate structures in order to solve today’s complex health care issues.
“Entrepreneurship is the act of filling a need we didn’t know we had,” Bush said. “It involves two ingredients – the mass, meaning the lives touched, and velocity, meaning how can we turn the crank a little more.”
With his strong public-sector background, Bush stated his position on the need for government to support rather than create the innovation to address today’s health care problems.
“Government has a role in encouraging innovation, but not doing the innovation. I think the job of government is to protect the garden and then let the garden grow. Currently, the government is both the referee and a player on the field,” he said.
Senator Frist shifted the conversation to the current debate on data privacy regulations in reference to Facebook and other social media channels and the impact that data misuse could have on the health care industry. Bush offered his view that the release of health care data information is needed in order to foster innovation and solve today’s health care problems, citing physician burnout as one serious issue that could be greatly improved by embracing new solutions.
The confluence of new artificial intelligence plus nontraditional health care companies like Apple, Walmart and Amazon entering the health care industry gives Bush hope that health care is headed in the right direction, regardless of what happens in Washington, D.C. He asked the leaders in the room to be open to disruption and to embrace entrepreneurship as Nashville continues to lead the nation in collaborating to improve patient care.
Senator Frist wrapped up the discussion by asking Bush to advise the room full of top health care leaders on what they should do to make a difference in health care’s transformation.
“Nashville’s social and cultural network effect in health care is unmatched. There is no other community like this anywhere else. If that social network can converge with a tech network effect – and I think it’s going to happen – it’s going to change the world,” Bush concluded.