VIVE 2023 Made Several Wise Decisions in Coming To Nashville

ViVE2023, CHIME and Start Up Health Kick off a Four-Day Health Lollapalooza

Nashville is universally recognized as the nation’s music capital and home to countless country music legends. But the health sector easily takes the lead regarding the dollar volume contributed to the city’s and national economy.

Surprised? You’re not alone! But the numbers are a tune you won’t forget.  The music industry is a significant contributor to the Nashville economy.  The Country Music Association reports that the music industry generates $10 billion in economic impact annually for the city.  That includes revenue from live music events, music tourism and recording studios.

But even if you add in the sales from hotel reservations and souvenirs, health wins hands down over music when it comes to economic impact. According to the Nashville Health Care Council, the city’s health industry contributes more than $67 billion annually to the region’s economy and employs 325,000 people. This includes health providers, medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and healthcare IT firms. The health industry is also responsible for nearly 40% of all jobs in the Nashville region.

Nashville is a Given When it Comes to Hosting ViVE

Unsurprisingly, ViVE Events chose Nashville for its second gathering – a city quietly making its mark on the nation’s health system. Nashville is the perfect place for ViVE Events. It attracts change agents and digital health innovators known for their collaborative nature and seeking a friendly setting to exchange ideas and learn from each other.

“This is only the second year for ViVE and the conference is emerging as a big draw. Last year’s event attracted 5,000 people, and this year, ViVE is expected to draw around 7,500,” says Keith Fraidenburg, CHIME executive vice president and chief operating and innovation officer. CHIME is the main driver behind the ViVE gathering, centering around digital health and health information.

“Music City” is home to some of the most prestigious healthcare organizations in the United States, including HCA Healthcare, Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Community Health Systems. These institutions provide world-class medical care to patients from across the country and world and, much like Cambridge, MA, with its proximity to academic medical centers, universities and service supports, serve as engines of innovation for the health innovation sector.

In addition to leading healthcare providers, Nashville is home to a vibrant ecosystem of start-ups and entrepreneurs focused on health innovation. Many companies are spin-offs of HCA Healthcare, which long encouraged staff to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.  Now, the community is supported by local incubators and accelerators like the Nashville Health Care Council, Lifepoint Health, and Frist Cressey Ventures, which all provide resources, connections, and mentorship to help start-ups grow and thrive.

The iconic Tommy Frist Sr., who co-founded HCA Healthcare, and was a longstanding investor in entrepreneurial ventures, helped fuel Nashville’s growth as a national health hub.  “Nashville’s healthcare industry is a critical economic driver for the region, employing tens of thousands of people and generating billions of dollars in economic activity,” said Frist Sr, who died in 1998 and created the foundation for Nashville to be a national health system force: “As a lifelong Nashvillian and founder of one of the region’s leading healthcare companies, I am proud of Nashville’s role in advancing healthcare innovation and improving patient care.”

The concentration of healthcare providers and innovators in Nashville has attracted significant investment, with venture capital firms, legal powerhouse firms such as Waller and private equity groups recognizing the region’s potential for growth and innovation. This investment has super-charged the development of innovative technologies, therapies, and patient care approaches, transforming the healthcare industry.

Nashville’s position as a center for health innovation and provider services is critical to the future of healthcare in the United States. With a collaborative ecosystem of healthcare providers, academic institutions, start-ups, and investors, Nashville is well-positioned to drive new advancements in patient care and access. Its unique combination of expertise, resources, and quality of life makes it an ideal destination for healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs looking to impact the healthcare industry positively.

Start-Up Health Kicks Off at ViVE 2023

Photo Credit: Author. Jamey Edwards, chief platform officer at Start Up Health, is a former portfolio executive, and is now sharing his wisdom and experiences with participants together with Co-Founder Steven Krein, through a new university-like format.

Some 100 company leaders were on-hand for the Start Up Health Transformers Unite! 2023 Health Transformer Workshop hosted by Steven Krein, co-founder and managing partner, and Jamey Edwards, chief platform officer of Start-Up Health.  Start-Up Health is a unique model for entrepreneurs seeking the support of an accelerator. 

A community with the rigor of an academy, Start Up Health offers health IT, health tech and wellness entrepreneurs a structure and curriculum to help them navigate the unique challenges – addressing everything from mindset to positioning to raising money to navigate the fragmented health ecosystem.  Now Start Up Health is working to ensure companies accepted into its supportive hive succeed in their missions to build sustainable growth businesses. 

According to Founder Unity Stoakes, “In a world full of limited-scope, short-form, quick-hit business advice, we’re building Health Transformer University with long-term transformation in mind. That means being stage agnostic, unbound by time, and globally connected.”

Photo Credit: Author. Start Up Health is addressing its portfolio companies’ emotional, structural and financial needs in a unique incubator accelerator approach.

The ViVE 2023 gathering conversation centered around a clear development model by translating Maslow’s hierarchy of success into four steps for “Achieving Health Moonshots.”

  1. Mission & Mindset
  2. Rhythm & Progress
  3. Relationships & Brand
  4. Capital & Impact

The portfolio companies – all impressive – are hand-picked for receiving the time and attention of a leadership team that has graduated successfully from the Start-Up Health incubator community. The approach is working well for those accepted into its program.  Valera Health, offering mental health services, has also received support from Cigna. Another, Avanlee Care, has teamed up with Walmart to apply its technology to support millions of unpaid caregivers. Athelo Health, led by Jessica Thurmond, is pioneering long needed efforts in women’s health. Taking on long-neglected conversations around diagnosis, information access, treatment approaches, the company has launched a biometric-anchored virtual coach for women with breast and gynecologic cancers.

Start Up Health catalyzes long-awaited changes in the global health system.  Here are two profiles among the scores of companies participating in their incubator/accelerator community:

Vigilant Software is working to eliminate one billion common medication errors by digitizing hospital-based drug delivery. In a system still dominated by hand-written medical orders or patient charts – where faxes are still deployed to transmit vital medical information – there are bound to be mistakes – sometimes deadly.  Caring for patients on the floors is one thing.  But, when critical care is needed, analog data shouldn’t be considered a go-to system. Health information technology can be deployed to address urgent care speed.

This Start-Up Health-supported company seeks to help critical care nurses by eliminating workflow steps that often involve translating – or misinterpreting – handwritten instructions. Its automation platform –a proprietary barcode scanner and label printer – eliminates manual calculations so that IV infusions and injections are safer and, by reducing workflow, returns time to patient care.

Vigilant demonstrated that its digital health system could save some 4,000 hours of critical care nursing time annually in a typical American hospital. As hospitals shoulder the burden of nurse staffing shortages and nurse burnout, reducing drug-interaction risks, and automating tasks, have several clear benefits – from saving lives to strengthening staff retention.

equalityMD is changing how the LGBTQ+ community perceives and receives health services. The Start Up Health-guided company has evolved through the years.  First launched in January 2015 as an LGBTQ+ multimedia and marketing company called Q Media, it shifted into an LGBTQ+ consumer behavioral data analytics company. But the pandemic – the pressing need for health services within the LGBTQ+ community – pushed it into its current form as a life-sustaining and saving medical matchmaker. Its founder and CEO, Justin Ayars, JD, a former trial lawyer, recognized a long-standing health equity need and transformed the company into the first virtual LGBTQ+ inclusive healthcare platform.

Using a proprietary machine-learning matching algorithm, equalityMD connects the LGBTQ+ community with culturally competent primary care and mental health providers nationwide. The system seeks to create a safe space on what is likely the virtual first platform where this community can be their authentic selves and receive the care required. Providers complete LGBTQ+ cultural competency training through a third-party ACCME provider and are then invited to onto platform, enabling them to be matched with people seeking care. As an added benefit, providers can receive Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits by participating in these training programs.

equalityMD is certified both as a Benefit Corporation (B-Corp) and LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE) – a National LGBT Chamber of Commerce supplier diversity status, is now strengthening ties with Blue Cross Blue Shield, CVS/Aetna, and Cedars-Sinai so that its business model is enduring, scalable and demonstrates outcomes.

Model for Health Innovation Collaboration in a Welcoming City

The CHIME ViVE 2023 model draws in collaborative partners such as Start Up Health. The InteropNow! and Cybersecurity Pavilions, as well as welcoming others such as UC Davis and Galen Growth to use the gathering to share breaking insights (watch for the following ViVE 2023 report), centered around a city of hospitality, fun and health innovation is the perfect medicine for health transformers looking to learn and apply.   


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Gil Bashe, Medika Life Editor
Gil Bashe, Medika Life Editor
Health advocate connecting the dots to transform biopharma, digital health and healthcare innovation | Managing Partner, Chair Global Health FINN Partners | MM&M Top 50 Health Influencer | Top 10 Innovation Catalyst. Gil is Medika Life editor-in-chief and an author for the platform’s EcoHealth and Health Opinion and Policy sections. Gil also hosts the HealthcareNOW Radio show Healthunabashed, writes for Health Tech World, and is a member of the BeingWell team on Medium.


Editor in Chief, Medika Life

Meet the Medika Life editor-in-chief, working closely with founding editors Robert Turner and Jeff Livingston, MD.

Not your usual health-industry executive, Gil Bashe has had a unique career shaped by more than three decades in healthcare policy, pharma, life science, digital health and venture capital and informed his determination to ‘give back.’

A champion for health innovation that sustains people’s lives and improves their care, Gil honed his perspectives on both battlefield and boardroom. He started in health as a combat medic in an elite military unit. He went on to serve as a clergyman tending to the ill; as a health products industry lobbyist; as CEO of one of the world’s largest integrated health marketing companies; as a principal in private equity; as a Medika Life author and Health Tech World correspondent; and as Chair, Global Health at FINN Partners, a community of purpose dedicated to making a difference.

In the forefront of change, Gil is ranked as a Top 10 Digital Health Influencer; Medical Marketing & Media Top 10 Innovation Catalyst; Medika Life named him a “Top 50 Global Healthcare Influencer,” and PM360 presented him with its “Trailblazer Lifetime Achievement Award.” He is a board member for digital health companies and serves as advisor to the CNS Summit, Galien Foundation, Let’s Win for Pancreatic Cancer, Marfan Foundation and other health-centered organizations.





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