Why being the 'best' isn't Hartford HealthCare's top priority

There is an urgent need for a radical reimagination of the healthcare system, Jeffrey Flaks, president and CEO of Hartford (Conn.) HealthCare, told Becker's

"We just have to reimagine healthcare. And we have to challenge ourselves to think differently, be willing to disrupt ourselves," he said. "Our ambition at Hartford HealthCare is to be the best at getting better. It's not to be the best."

Hartford HealthCare's commitment to this goal is reflected in its laser focus on addressing healthcare access challenges. The health system is leveraging technology, forming strategic partnerships, and embracing AI and predictive analytics to enhance care accessibility, affordability, quality and equity.

One notable partnership is with Google, where the focus is on utilizing predictive analytics to connect with patients more effectively. 

"With Google, we're figuring out how we can dramatically increase access to care and coordination of care," Mr. Flaks said.  

The collaboration enables more personalized patient interactions, anticipating and addressing individual needs, such as recommending preventive screenings for patients with high-risk factors in their families, as well as determining the ideal duration of patient stay to effectively plan for discharge.

Beyond the Google partnership, Hartford HealthCare also forged a partnership with Amazon's One Medical in June. 

This collaboration, according to Mr. Flaks, introduces a subscription-based healthcare model and offers patients coordinated care close to where they live and work.

"Similar to Netflix, people sign up and join the Amazon One Medical model with Hartford HealthCare," he said. "With this, Amazon's One Medical provides the front door and the primary care component for the patient while Hartford provides all the diagnostic, ancillary services and care coordination for specialty care to those patients."

Mr. Flaks said the model has been working "tremendously."

In addition to these partnerships, Hartford Healthcare has ventured into software solutions through a company called H2O, developed in collaboration with MIT faculty members. This cloud-based software focuses on reducing hospital length of stay, optimizing operating room efficiency, and enhancing staffing models in emergency departments.

Implementation of H2O software, according to Mr. Flaks, has yielded tangible results for Hartford, including a significant reduction in hospital length of stay as well as using predictive analytics in operating rooms that help reshape case sequencing to maximize capacity without expanding physical infrastructure.

"This is why I'm extraordinarily enthusiastic about how impactful artificial intelligence is already demonstrating, but will become over time in healthcare," Mr. Flaks said. "The technology is ubiquitous. It goes across every aspect of healthcare, from clinical domains to operational administrative domains, and it can make us so much better. The opportunities are endless, and it will be enormously impactful."

As Hartford HealthCare continues to forge strategic partnerships, it sets an example of how reimagining healthcare can lead to transformative improvements in accessibility, affordability and overall patient care.

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