Recently, Leadership Health Care (LHC) led a group of delegates to Boston. As LHC's first delegation outside of Washington, D.C., the trip promised to bring new insights and experiences for the group of Nashville's emerging healthcare leaders in attendance. It did not disappoint.
Throughout the events on Monday, Sept. 16, and Tuesday, Sept. 17, delegates got a crash course in Boston's healthcare ecosystem and the interconnectivity of Boston's healthcare stakeholders that fuel innovation.
One of the novel elements of this delegation was a trip through medical history with a tour of Massachusetts General Hospital's Russell Museum of Medical History and Innovation, including the Ether Dome. The Ether Dome provided delegates the ability to tour the historical medical teaching amphitheater that housed the first successful use of ether as an anesthetic for surgery. While touring the Russell Museum, delegates viewed historical surgical tools, interactive exhibits about the evolution of healthcare, and tried their hands at laparoscopic surgery through simulation. Experiencing the history of medicine reminded delegates of how far we have come as a nation in providing innovative care to our communities.
After the museum, delegates departed to MassChallenge for a brief tour of this non-profit program that invests in high-potential businesses and an afternoon interacting with healthcare entrepreneurs and technology innovators.
In addition to meeting representatives from MassChallenge, delegation programming featured Stephen Konya, senior innovation strategist with the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT, talking about ONC priorities and progress around innovation. Konya discussed ONC's multi-pronged approach to supporting innovation, including direct challenge competitions such as the Move Health Data Forward Challenge focused on helping consumers consolidate and share their health data.
Delegates also heard from representatives from the Massachusetts eHealth Institute at Mass Tech, the Digital Innovation Hub at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, and the leaders of successful Boston startups Wellist and Medumo. Impressively, these entities work collaboratively to engage with technology entrepreneurs in an effort to rapidly accelerate the development and deployment of novel ideas.
The engaging keynote panel on Monday evening featured private equity leaders, Payal Agrawal of .406 Ventures and Aneesha Mehta of Bain Capital Ventures, talking with LifePoint Health's former Chairman and CEO Bill Carpenter about healthcare investing and what startup leaders can do to make their businesses attractive to investors. The speakers noted it's usually the company leaders, not just the business idea, that attract a private equity team to an investment. Investors are looking for companies led by strong operators who can steer a business through growth and multiple iterations of its business model.
Value in Connections
In addition to the learning opportunities, one of the most valuable aspects of participating in an LHC delegation is the ability to create relationships and expanded networks. Delegate participants represented about 40 healthcare companies from Nashville in multiple facets of our industry -- from hospital operators and health insurance providers to digital health and addiction medicine -- providing a depth and breadth of expertise from which to expand our perspectives. As the LHC board chair, I'm particularly heartened when our members are able to form lasting connections that expand the collective knowledge of our organizations.
Next year, the LHC delegation will head back to its Washington, D.C. roots. By that time, election season will be nearing completion, providing our delegates the opportunity to gain valuable insights into federal health policy and the obligatory election predictions.
Jessica Wells is the board chair of Leadership Health Care, an initiative of the Nashville Health Care Council, and assistant vice president of education & research, graduate medical education for HCA Healthcare.