Oracle's move to Nashville for its world HQ signals broader ambitions for healthcare

Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison said last week that the software giant planned to move its world headquarters to Nashville, Tennessee, a move that surprised many, including, apparently, Austin city officials and Texas state leaders.

"It's the center of the industry we're most concerned about, which is the healthcare industry," Ellison said during a fireside chat with Bill Frist, former U. S. Senate majority leader and founder of Frist Cressey Ventures, during the Oracle Health Summit.

Ellison said Oracle is moving a "huge campus" to Nashville, "which will ultimately be our world headquarters."

Oracle moved its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Austin, Texas, in 2020.

The company's move to the Music City has been years in the making as it plans to build a 1.2 million-square-foot campus in East Nashville. In 2021, a Tennessee panel approved $65 million in state incentives for Oracle, with the company planning to bring 8,500 jobs and an investment topping $1 billion to Nashville over a decade, the Associated Press reported.

"It's not going to look anything like a corporate campus. What we're building is a park. It's a park first that has buildings in it. And, those buildings include not only office buildings, but a community clinic. The clinic is a great place for us to deploy the latest versions of our software," Ellison told Frist last week.

Moving its world headquarters to Nashville signals Oracle's ambitions to further expand its reach into the healthcare industry as it ramps up its focus on developing healthcare software products.

Nashville is home to hospital chains HCA Healthcare, one of the largest hospital owners, and Community Health Systems. The city also supports more than 900 healthcare startups, and 16 publicly traded healthcare companies have their headquarters there, generating about $97 billion in annual revenue, according to the Nashville Health Care Council.

The company made a big bet on healthcare when it bought health IT and electronic health records software company Cerner in a $28 billion deal in June 2022. That move enabled Oracle to push deeper into the healthcare market. The company has since renamed that business Oracle Health.

Construction has not yet begun on Oracle offices, however, company officials have said the offices will be open and operating by 2030, The Tennessean reported.

Ellison also said employees expressed interest in the city. "We want to be a part of a community where our people want to live," he said last week.


Ramping up focus on healthcare cloud, cybersecurity 


Oracle sees opportunities to grow its cloud business in the healthcare sector. The company is in the process of transitioning the Cerner EHR to the cloud.

In the nearly two years since the Cerner acquisition, Oracle says it has invested "tens of thousands of engineering hours and millions of dollars" to enhance its core clinical applications. As part of this investment, Oracle has helped more than 1,000 Oracle Health EHR customers migrate to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).

The company is upgrading and modernizing Cerner's Millennium EHR "a piece at a time" to go after a bigger piece of the healthcare ecosystem, Ellison, who also serves as Oracle's chief technology officer, told investors during the company's second-quarter earnings call in December.

The company touts its OCI and automation technology as offering enhanced cybersecurity for healthcare organizations. Last week, Oracle announced its "autonomous shield" initiative to simplify and accelerate Oracle Health EHR migrations to OCI at no additional cost.

The company says its technology offers "real-time threat detection and monitoring, autonomous systems, and team of experts to help keep their networks safe," according to a press release.

Oracle provides cloud infrastructure and applications for U.S. national security systems for the Defense Department and intelligence community, company executives noted.

"We started building some highly secure systems for the intelligence community," Ellison said last week.

The company touts that it is the only healthcare technology provider that uses autonomous databases and operating systems to automatically patch and protect against the latest vulnerabilities. "This helps eliminate cybersecurity’s biggest weakness—human error and delay," executives said in a press release.

Oracle also says OCI isolates itself and customers from one another to reduce avenues of attack, and OCI provides "always-on data encryption and on-by-default multi-factor authentication, activity auditing, and DDoS protection."

During the interview with Frist last week, Ellison said critical infrastructure industries should move to the cloud to better protect patient data, and the federal government should offer "carrots and sticks" to encourage that migration.

"If Cedars-Sinai wants to move to the cloud and secure that big hospital complex in Los Angeles, there should be financial incentives, either tax incentives or some kind of incentive, to encourage them to make that movement, because our hospital system is a critical infrastructure in this country," Ellison said.

The company also noted that Oracle security experts were able to support companies impacted by the Change Healthcare cyberattack. Oracle diverted the traffic of several large health networks that used Change Healthcare as a payment gateway to other gateways in a matter of days. Since Oracle rerouted their traffic, these networks have avoided payment disruptions on more than $3 billion in claims, the company said.