By MATT BLOIS
A new report from Middle Tennessee State University shows that health care companies, including some from Williamson County, are an important part of the tech industry in Middle Tennessee.
The authors of the report identified more than 38,000 openings for tech jobs in Middle Tennessee in 2018, and about a third came from health care affiliated organizations.
According to the report, demand for tech workers in health care grew steadily in 2017 and 2018.
The Franklin-based hospital management company Community Health Systems was one of the companies that advertised for the most health care technology jobs in the area. In 2018, the company posted 280 unique job opportunities.
The company has about 4,000 employees in the Middle Tennessee area, and operates more than 100 hospitals across the U.S.
The Nashville Technology Council hosted a panel with business leaders in the health care technology sector on Thursday following the release of the report.
At the event, Community Health Systems Chief Information Officer Manish Shah said recruiting employees with tech skills is important, but he also looks for employees that have a broad understanding of the health care system.
“Technology is pretty universal. What makes (health care) unique is the industry domain knowledge,” he said. “There’s not enough people in health care who understand what I call wall to wall understanding of how health care works.”
He said tech workers with that kind of understanding have the best chance of improving and automating health care processes.
Chris Bayham, the Chief Information Officer for Change Healthcare, said that those employees can be hard to find. He added that companies will probably need to look outside of the Nashville area to fill all of the job openings in health care technology.
“I think it can be challenging as we continue to grow in the greater Nashville area to not bring in new talent,” he said. “If we’re not careful, we could end up constantly poaching from each other. As we continue to grow that’s not a sustainable model.”
Amy Harris, an MTSU professor of information systems and analytics wrote the report. The report follows up on a similar report last year examining the state of all tech jobs in Middle Tennessee.