HCA shuffles C-suite to boost digital strategy

The CIO and innovation chief of Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare will soon report directly to the CEO, in realignment meant to emphasize the 186-hospital system's tech focus.

CIO Chad Wasserman, a senior vice president, and Mike Schlosser, MD, senior vice president of care transformation and innovation, will begin reporting to CEO Sam Hazen on April 1.

"This move is expected to enhance focus and alignment around one of HCA Healthcare's key strategies to transform care models through data-driven insights and technology-supported tools," HCA said in a Feb. 13 statement.

Mr. Wasserman became CIO on Feb. 1, replacing Marty Paslick, who retired after 11 years as IT chief. Mr. Wasserman, who oversees over 6,200 IT staffers, has been with the health system for nearly three decades. Dr. Schlosser joined HCA in 2017.

"With evolving technological tools, we are investing to unlock this value," Mr. Hazen said in a Jan. 30 earnings call. The goal is to "enhance quality, drive further efficiencies through our financial resiliency program, and improve overall operational-management capabilities, including integrating our revenue cycle in case-management functions better."

Dr. Schlosser has been aiming the "care transformation" strategy at reducing documentation for providers, including through a generative artificial intelligence partnership with Google to document emergency room visits and generate nurse handoffs.

"We thought we had a much longer road in front of us to tackle some of the really big problems in healthcare, just because of how complicated they are," he said at a 2023 press briefing covered by Becker's. "And then generative AI came along and we realized the future was probably closer than we really thought it was."

Tom Kiesau, digital transformation lead at healthcare consultant Chartis, told Becker's the ideal situation for health system digital executives is to work directly beneath the CEO. Having them report to the CIO or CFO can create a "fiefdom battle," he said. At organizations with mature digital strategies, CIOs and chief digital officers often both answer to the chief executive, Deloitte reported.

Nearly three-fourths of CIOs reported to the CEO in 2023, up from 56% three years earlier, as IT chiefs' role grows in importance amid all the advancements in technology, according to National CIO Review.

An HCA spokesperson declined to comment to Becker's beyond what was in the press release.

HCA has been focusing its digital health strategy on research and treatment and adherence, according to a 2023 report from Galen Growth and Finn Partners.

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