Nashville, mobile transactions and more

Posted on Mon, Jan 04, 2010 – 10:22 am at HealthcareITNews | MobileHealthWatch | mHealthNews.com

I’m a transplant to Tennessee from the Twin Cities of Minnesota and like many other folks I’ve thought about Nashville’s role as Music City USA. But getting to know the home of HCA and its 150 plus inspired/related firms over these past two decades has made me take notice of some interesting Nashville-centric healthcare facts.

The Nashville Healthcare Council, launched in 1995,  now claims more than 175 member firms. The Medical Banking Project (now HIMSS Medical Banking Project) has, until November, had a similar number of individuals participating from approximately 50 firms. Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer will keynote this month’s Nashville Technology Council breakfast and January will also see the Healthcare Investment and Transaction Summit. Also, the Nashville Medical Trade Center location was announced in November. It is to be expected then that local Jeff McLeran, of HealthStream fame, would launch Medaxion LLC, which helps anesthesiologists capture their charges for billing and reimbursement using iPhones.

This concept of healthcare-related mobile transactions is finding more emphasis globally. In Salt Lake City, Utah, the Smart Card Alliance will hold the 3rd Annual Payments Summit on February 23-25, 2010. The event focuses on "chip and card manufacturers, terminal manufacturers, payment brands, issuing banks, payments processors, systems integrators and new mobile technology suppliers."

On the other side of the planet, Applab "seeks to engage with organizations, government entities and socially-minded companies interested in better understanding and meeting the needs of the poor," using SMS to provide basic health information. I’ve heard some anectdotal cases of persons having their hospital bills prepaid via texting. The microlender, Grameen Bank, is one of the parties behind Applab.

Google, the other major party involved in Applab, uses much open source code in its offerings. This is another area of personal interest to me. I checked the Wikipedia list of open source healthcare software and noted that while there are several mobile handheld programs, the open source mobile transaction offerings seem rather sparce. If readers are aware of projects along these lines I’d love to hear about them.