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Why Atlanta is Becoming the National Health IT Capital

by Hype Staff

The largest Health IT conference in the country – HIMSS, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society – is in Las Vegas from Feb. 29-March 4. Michele Madison and Jonielle Turner of Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP (MMM) are representatives carrying a bold message: Atlanta is proclaiming its rightful role as the epicenter of Health IT.

The basis for this claim of Health IT leadership is grounded in six areas:

1. Health IT Companies.  Georgia has more than 200 health IT companies of all sizes, from startups to the largest enterprises in the country.  They employ approximately 30,000 people across our state. The Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) reports that eight metro Atlanta companies rank among Healthcare Informatics’ top 100 vendors with the highest revenues earned from health IT products and services in the nation.  Their cumulative revenues total almost $5 billion.

2. Startup Fever.  Atlanta provides a hospitable environment for entrepreneurs to start health IT companies – thanks to the city’s economic development efforts focused on entrepreneurship, affordability and tech-friendly culture. In addition to the young technology talent living in the metro area, hundreds of veteran healthcare executives have moved to Atlanta with large companies and are now seeking their fortune by starting businesses in the health IT market.

3. Health IT Accelerators/Incubators.  Our community has dozens of accelerators, incubators and co-working facilities to nurture health IT companies and connect them with key contacts in the community. For example, NeuroLaunch is a leading Atlanta accelerator program for neuroscience startup companies, and Atlanta Tech Village and ATDC are nurturing many health IT startups.

Atlanta is also home to WellStar’s Center for Health Transformation , a collaborative network of healthcare systems, educational institutions and business organizations focused on developing and advancing innovative solutions designed to transform healthcare. Additionally, Georgia Tech is home to i3L – Interoperability, Integration & Innovation Lab, a virtual sandbox and physical collaboration locus for health information technology practitioners and thought leaders.

4. Large Talent Pool and Senior Leadership.  Atlanta is fortunate to have a wealth of entrepreneurs, developers and engineers in our city, many of whom have degrees from Georgia Tech, Georgia State, University of Georgia or Kennesaw State, with concentrations in healthcare or health IT. We also have senior healthcare leaders and executives throughout our community. Atlanta serves as the headquarters to  leading national and global health organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Cancer Society, Arthritis Foundation, CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere), The Carter Center and the Task Force for Global Health.

5. Health IT Ecosystem. Our city is also home to leading healthcare trade associations. The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) has more than 32,000 members. The Southeast Medical Device Association (SEMDA), co-founded by our law partner, John Yates, is the leading medical device organization in the region. The Institute for Healthcare Information Technology (iHIT) and Health 2.0 Atlanta  are groups focused on connecting the Atlanta healthcare technology community. The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) continues to make a significant investment in the health IT cluster by sponsoring the Georgia Pavilion at the upcoming HIMSS show with 11 outstanding health IT companies

6. HIMSS Birthplace.  Finally, Atlanta is proud to be the birthplace of HIMSS, where the organization was founded in 1961. A group of health IT pioneers at Georgia Tech formed the group with the mission of improving patient services and reducing healthcare costs.  As the proud parent of the leading health IT association in the country, we look forward to the event returning to Atlanta soon.

About the Authors: Michele Madison is Chair of the Health IT Group and Jonielle Turner is an Associate in the Health IT Group at Morris, Manning & Martin in Atlanta. The two will be reporting on the results of HIMSS and ways Atlanta can continue to promote itself as the nation’s Health IT capital. 

Madison, Michele Turner,Jonielle[image sources: (1) HIMSS and (2-3) MMM]
This column is presented for educational and informational purposes and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

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