By E. Jane Caraway
Director of Life Sciences, Corporate Solutions, Digital Entertainment and IT
Georgia Department of Economic Development
Only one other state in the U.S. boasts more companies on the 2015 Healthcare Informatics 100 listing than Georgia, setting the stage for what’s grown into an epicenter for the health IT industry. Georgia’s robust HIT network, anchored by the eight companies featured on the list, drives the entire industry in creating a more powerful, competitive and successful ecosystem.
The role the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Life Sciences, Corporate Solutions, Digital Entertainment and IT Team plays is not passive. We help companies thrive by providing assistance to those considering Georgia as a business destination. In addition, we help to identify and pursue prospective companies with expansion or relocation potential. For companies with operations in Georgia, we work to develop solutions for their business needs and provide assistance to local chambers of commerce and development authorities in their economic development outreach.
As a result of our efforts, many HIT companies have grown or chosen to call Georgia home. We pride ourselves on being active partners in helping them achieve high-level business development goals.
So, you can see, Georgia’s position as a growing hub for HIT didn’t happen by chance. Our more than 225 HIT companies take advantage of a range of resources and benefits, including:
Connectivity and Transportation Infrastructure
Georgia is home to the world’s most traveled airport and fastest growing ports infrastructure. Aside from the ease of access to global markets that these facilities provide, Georgia also has the following connectivity and transportation advantages to offer companies:
- Having the world’s most traveled airport, which serves 150 U.S. destinations and more than 70 international destinations, is important for growing HIT companies that frequently host customers, partners, corporate leaders and investors from locations across the world.
- Highly reliable power infrastructure and competitive electric rates keep HIT companies’ costs down and operational abilities up.
- Top-line bandwidth and fiber access, which is key for HIT companies that tend to operate with large volumes of data.
- A large concentration of telecommunications companies sits in the heart of Atlanta, opening up endless potential for HIT partnerships.
- Low risk of business disruption due to natural disasters, so the power and internet will always stay on for companies in technology-dependent industries.
College and University Network
Access to top graduating talent is key for any company in any industry, no matter how large or how small. Our state’s higher education system confers more than 3,300 undergraduate and graduate degrees annually across healthcare, including HIT, biotechnology and life science related programs.
Among the HIT programs, certificates and degrees offered by the University System of Georgia are:
- A one-year HIT Certificate.
- Jointly offered by Gwinnett Technical College and the Georgia Institute ofTechnology.
- Bachelor of Science in Health Information Administration, Master of Public Health with a concentration in Health Informatics and Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Health Information Administration.
- Offered by Georgia Regents University.
- Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology.
- Offered by the Technical College System of Georgia.
- Health informatics concentrations in Bachelor of Business Administration and Computer Information Systems, Master of Science programs in Information Systems, Health Administration and Computer Science.
- Offered by Georgia State University.
Georgia has been ranked the number-one state in the U.S. for business by Site Selection magazine for the past three years. Georgia makes financial sense as a home for budding HIT companies to do business for several reasons, including:
- Georgia Quick Start, ranked number one in the U.S. for workforce training, is a partner available to businesses in the state that want to develop strategic workforce solutions.
- A six percent corporate income tax that applies only to income earned in Georgia.
- Available payroll withholding exemptions.
- Local property tax relief for qualified land, building and equipment.
- Sales tax exemptions on qualified computer hardware and software.
Companies such as Greenway Health and HealthPort, and the presence of facilities such as the Center for Disease Control make Georgia an epicenter for healthcare IT and life sciences talent and industry leaders. The picture becomes clear when all these assets are factored together with the network of businesses that already exists here.
Our department frequently steps up to help facilitate relationships between HIT companies and the partners they need to build out in a successful way. We help larger companies solve productivity challenges by introducing them to smaller companies and other partners, which in turn helps smaller companies gain valuable experience and exposure within the industry.
But the real value play in doing business in Georgia comes from the combination of hard business benefits, such as transportation infrastructure, and soft business benefits, such as a low cost of living. Our department is continuously working to help companies across Georgia’s HIT continuum stay as efficient and cutting edge as possible. We want HIT companies in Georgia to continue to thrive, and with more then $4 billion in annual reported revenue between them, we think Georgia is the place to be in HIT.
Georgia’s deep Health IT landscape includes a diverse array of manufacturers, service providers, developers and related companies.