INFORMS Healthcare 2015 set for Nashville

Reinventing value in an era of health reform.

By Robert S. Dittus, Eric Johnson and Vikram Tiwari

While many think of Nashville, Tenn., as Music City, Time Magazine calls it the South’s “Red-Hot Town” – sparked by a booming cultural scene and world-class healthcare. This year’s INFORMS Healthcare Conference, set for July 29-31 in Nashville, will provide a glimpse of the transforming U.S. healthcare industry. Over the past two decades, Nashville spawned more than 500 healthcare companies, many of them spun off from Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), Vanderbilt University Medical Center and HealthTrust. Today those companies, including 13 publicly traded companies, generate more than $70 billion in annual revenue and more than 400,000 jobs globally.

For most healthcare delivery organizations, the focus on delivering the highest value has never been greater. Facing the reality of accelerated downward pressures on reimbursements, these organizations have to reinvent service delivery across the entire continuum of care. Technological advances and rapidly shifting financial landscapes are increasing pressure to achieve wholesale reconsideration and reconstruction of healthcare delivery models in both inpatient and outpatient settings – especially as the line between these two blurs. Delivery systems are also shifting their key focus from volume-oriented healthcare delivery to individual and population health, which is what the consumers actually desire from healthcare. 

This provides a unique opportunity for the operations research community to showcase its existing methods, to develop innovative techniques for addressing emerging challenges at all levels of healthcare delivery, and capitalize on increased interest to achieve implemented solutions and testable outcomes.

The conference goal is to bring together academic researchers in “healthcare analytics” and industry stakeholders for the application of this research to share information and improve the delivery of effective healthcare. The health sector is catching up fast but still lags behind other industries such as airlines, hotel chains and retail in the adoption of systematic and quantitative analysis used in decision support, and this conference will help to bridge the informational gap. The conference aims to bring a cross-cultural view of healthcare systems worldwide and the research and applications designed to improve these systems in areas such as:

  • The best, most dynamic current research in healthcare O.R. and analytics presented in one, highly focused conference.
  • Synergism of business and management principles with medical principles provide a unique learning experience.
  • Multidisciplinary research providing a 360-degree view on analytics, O.R., information systems, statistics, epidemiology and more.
  • A cross-cultural view of healthcare systems and operational impact from around the world is assured by an international panel of experts from the United States, Canada and Europe.
  • An intimate, small-scale setting to drive learning.
  • Participation from leading healthcare O.R. societies: Health Application Section of INFORMS, MSOM Society of INFORMS Healthcare Operations Management Group, Canadian OR Society (CORS), POMS College of Healthcare Operations Management, EURO Working Group on Healthcare, Association for Information Systems SIG-Health, IIE’s Society for Health Systems and Vanderbilt University medical-related schools. 

With 125 sessions and more than 500 talks, the conference will address important topics such as big data, healthcare analytics, informatics, medical decision-making, public health, disease modeling, patient flows and scheduling and much more. 

Participants of the conference will have the opportunity to enjoy all that Nashville has to offer. Nashville has earned such accolades as the “one of the top five travel destinations to visit in the world in 2013” (Condé Nast Traveler) and “One of the Top 50 Meeting Destinations in the United States”(Cvent). Nashville’s healthy economy and enviable quality of life have attracted a large influx of newcomers. The New York Times notes, “there’s much more to the Tennessee capital than country. One of seven cities chosen to begin Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub Network, Nashville is bustling with new business.”

Of course, Nashville is known as “Music City,” with the Grand Ole Opry, famed Music Row and live country music on nearly every corner (even in the airport!). Nashville has become one of the South’s hottest culinary destinations with some of the top chefs in the nation concocting dishes to delight every palate. Inventive restaurants such as Virago, Sinema, Marché Artisan Foods, Prime 108, Rolf and Daughters, Catbird Seat, Etch and Patterson House (just to name a few) are part of a growing list of exciting restaurants that guarantee you’ll dine well while in town. 

The hit TV series “Nashville” has produced a new wave of country music fans that flock to honky-tonks lining Lower Broadway. Ryman Auditorium, the Mother Church of Country Music, must be on the auditory bucket list. Nashville is a full-spectrum music and arts scene, with venues throughout the city featuring classical, blues, rock and just about any other genre imaginable. Nashville’s cultural scene is also booming.

Located on the banks of the Cumberland River, Nashville has experienced significant change over the last decade, including many additions to the skyline.

The stately Schermerhorn Symphony Center stages world-class orchestral events, while the Tennessee Performing Arts Center is home to outstanding opera, dance and theater performances. The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, housed in a historic Art Deco U.S. Post Office building downtown, hosts spectacular displays of art from around the world. One of the more distinctive buildings in the city’s center is the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The building’s exterior features windows that mirror piano keys, the northwest corner of the building juts out like the tail fin of a 1950s Cadillac, and when viewed from the air, the building resembles a bass clef. The interior is no less impressive, and the exhibits related to the city’s wealth of county music history might well convert those who’ve never once worn a cowboy hat. 

We look forward to welcoming you to Nashville. For more information, visit:

Robert S. Dittus, M.D., Eric Johnson, Ph.D., and Vikram Tiwari, Ph.D., are faculty members at Vanderbilt University and co-chairs of INFORMS Healthcare 2015.