Council News

November 30, 2010

Nashville can be a world leader in health services (The Tennessean)

Nashville can be a world leader in health services (The Tennessean)
by Dick Cowart, The Tennessean | Nov 30, 2010

In December, the Nashville Health Care Council will celebrate the 15th anniversary of its founding. Over that period, the building of Nashville’s health-care brand has been a primary objective.

The council has hosted an impressive parade of business and political leaders to solidify Nashville’s brand as the nation’s health-care capital. Annual delegations to Wall Street and Washington reaffirm these efforts.

The Nashville brand not only is a domestic one, it also is international in scope and scale. To promote Nashville, the council and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce have led several trade missions, recently completing its ninth International Trade Mission.

The most recent trade mission was the Health Care Council’s first to South America, with specific attention to Argentina and Chile.

The delegation consisted of 30 Nashville business and professional leaders. The group met with South American leaders to explore business development opportunities in the public and private sectors throughout the region.

For example, earlier this year, Chile experienced one of the worst earthquakes in recorded history. In its recovery efforts, Chile needs to repair a third of all its hospitals and must build seven new hospitals. Nashville companies have considerable experience in building and equipping new hospitals.

Nashville companies were well represented in the trade delegation, and for good reason.

For instance, Brentwood-based Healthways offers disease management services in Brazil and other South American countries. In recent years, Lipscomb University has added a health-care MBA, School of Pharmacy and School of Nursing. Next year, it will begin a study abroad program in Chile.

Pharmaceutical Credit Corporation, also based in Nashville, specializes in the disposal of pharmaceutical inventory.

Chile has a proliferation of pharmacies, one of the highest concentrations in the world.

The inaugural trade mission was led by Dr. Tommy Frist, a co-founder of the HCA hospital chain. Since then, Jack Bovender, Frist’s successor as chairman/ CEO of HCA, has taken over.

Themes, needs recur

Having led seven Nashville health-care trade missions to a dozen countries, Bovender is Nashville’s unofficial secretary of state.

Accompanied by his able charge d’affaires, NHCC President Caroline Young, they are the nucleus of an impressive and formidable team.

The world’s leading economies share the social, political and financial challenges of managing health-care costs for an aging population.

Although health-care systems vary from country to country, the themes and needs are recurring.

How do we train more health workers? How do we manage care more efficiently? How is health information technology applied effectively to reduce costs and improve quality?

Nashville has built its health- care reputation by excelling on these same questions. Let’s hope Nashville’s collective acumen makes it a national and a world leader in health services. It would be good for Nashville and the world.

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