About Dr.Chandra Bondugula


Perspectives from Mr. Samuel N. Hazen’s Talk about the Future of Healthcare at #HLTH2022.

Last week I was at the HLTH2022 Event at Venetian, Las Vegas. Among many Speakers and panels, I got to listen to a highly respected healthcare leader, Mr. Samuel N. Hazen, the CEO of HCA HealthcareHe is currently a board member of the HCA Foundation and the Nashville Health Care Council.

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HCA Healthcare is a renowned name in the healthcare industry. Founded 54 years ago in 1968, HCA Healthcare is dedicated to providing patient-centered care of maximum quality. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, the company is driven by a single mission- “committed to care and improvement of human life.”

HLTH2022 Conference

Mr. Sam Hazen was in conversation with Moderator Hemant Taneja, CEO and Managing Partner of General Catalyst, and he spoke about the current challenges in the healthcare industry and how HCA Healthcare intends to mitigate these challenges. 

Mr. Hazen has been serving HCA Healthcare for nearly four decades; thus, he deeply understands the healthcare landscape’s challenges. 


Workforce Shortage

Speaking about the plans of HCA Healthcare, Mr. Samuel Hazen said that healthcare is facing a vast workforce shortage, mainly due to the pandemic. “Healthcare is labor intensive, experiencing a unique supply chain shock. So, the HCA is focused on building the workforce at this juncture. He said technology can play a part in that.”

I can completely relate to what Mr. Hazen said about the labor shortage in healthcare. During the COVID Pandemic, thousands of physicians, house staff nurses, paramedical staff, and other healthcare staff members attended and served the patients day and night. The need for a new healthcare workforce is dire to fill the void created by retiring physicians who can continue to serve the community and improve the quality of care. 

Training Programs

HCA is the largest physician educator in the country, with over 7000 residents and fellows across all HCA facilities. When I met him, he mentioned that they had done a pretty good job creating the residency programs and looking forward to optimizing their training programs. They are the country’s second-largest nursing residency training program and may soon be number one. They also have a leadership training program to develop future healthcare leaders.

As Mr. Hazen said, residency programs and training physicians and nurses are pragmatic approaches to mitigating the physician and nursing shortage. There is a need to train Medical Residents to be tomorrow’s physicians and healthcare leaders. Residents can provide primary care and thus can significantly support patient care. According to AMA, Doctor shortages are here, and they’ll get worse if we don’t act fast.

The United States, within the next 12 years, faces a projected shortage of between 37,800 and 124,000 physicians, according to The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections From 2019 to 2034 (PDF), a report released by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

As the Designated Institutional Official (DIO) of the North Alabama Medical Center (NAMC) GME Program and a graduate medical education committee member, we initiated the brand new GME program with 36 internal medicine residents starting July 1, 2020. And in June 2022, we successfully graduated 12 Internal Medical Residents. After initiating our program, we have improved the quality of care and brought confidence in our community that they will have 24/7 coverage of hospital services and a daily residents’ primary care continuity clinic. Since our Shoals community and Northern Alabama have a significant shortage of psychiatrists, our CEO, I, and the GMEC committee decided to build a psychiatry residency program.

So, bringing forward this culture, with HCA as the trailblazer, every health system, hospital, and other provider location can develop Graduate Medical Education (GME) Programs and solve the impending shortage of physicians and the anticipated early retirement of physicians due to burnt out. 

Machine Learning in Healthcare

Mr. Samuel Hazen added that technology is vital in solving today’s problems and the future. And thus, HCA Healthcare is now committed to embracing advanced technology for advancing patient care or developing the workforce. They have come out of the pandemic focused on digitizing but are behind technology usage and advancing the care process.”

Mr. Hazen particularly emphasized the importance of machine learning in integrating advanced technology in healthcare. And to expand the use of machine learning, HCA aims at partnerships and collaborations. 

“The healthcare delivery to be even greater with machine learning, advanced technology, and partnerships with organizations. So, the partnership is an essential ingredient in accelerating our agenda.” Mr. Hazen said. 

The technology can enable physicians, nurses, and other frontline staff to make better strategic decisions and deliver good outcomes for their patient population. Machine learning tools help physicians and nurses make better diagnoses with better pattern recognition from medical reports. Thus, it helps improve care quality and efficiency. He cautioned that technology takes more time to make a difference in healthcare than other industries because healthcare is highly regulated and deals with people’s lives. 

Acknowledging what Mr. Sam Hazen said, I firmly believe technology can disrupt healthcare. My health tech startup: ZeaHealth, has been committed to bringing innovation and care transformation in patient care and quality since 2018. 

ZeaTool– our price transparency engine and compliance tool uses next-gen technologies like cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, and analytics to fetch complex healthcare pricing data and convert it into a more straightforward, consumer-friendly format. 

Health Equity & Patient Transparency

“Then the next thing for us is patient transparency. That variation is the frustration that all of our patients have. 

Sam Hazen called it a complex agenda when the moderator Mr. Hemant Taneja asked about Patient Transparency and health equity and how HCA aims to achieve that. 

“It’s a complex agenda, and he doesn’t think HCA health alone can solve the problem. Partnerships are how HCA can solve the problem.” HCA covers 6% of US healthcare delivery, with significant responsibility on all healthcare entities to fix current and future problems.

Again, accentuating the importance of partnerships, he said that HCA is aiming for partnerships with companies to extend the reach of delivering care. Next, he noted HCA’s recent partnerships with the March of Dimes and the American Heart Association, which will help leverage their resources and information to eliminate health disparities.

Advice To Health-Tech Startups

At the end of the session, the moderator Mr. Hemant Taneja asked Sam to give his valuable advice for healthcare technology startups. He said the only way to get into and succeed in the healthcare ecosystem is to embed yourself in it. He added that HCA Healthcare sees opportunities to communicate and collaborate with innovative startups.

“We are receptive and see opportunities for people by bringing other organizations into ours and interacting with organizations that can advance our vision.” Mr. Hazen said. He also mentioned that the startups should pilot with small facilities and climb the ladder. 

Final Words

“What’s exciting to me is our team, our physicians, our nurses, our management teams see the opportunity with technology as a solution to today’s problems and hope for tomorrow’s.” Mr. Hazen said.

“Now we’re in a resiliency mode because of inflation, but we’ve got three things that we have not compromised.”

Finally, Sam Hazen spoke about the three key agendas HCA Healthcare aims for long-term success:

  • Technology Agenda
  • Innovation & Care Transformation Agenda
  • Workforce Development Agenda

“I think now a great set of ideas are important for you where hopefully we can bring these innovative companies together and create new models,” Hazen said. 

Mr. Hazen claimed that HCA was a big proponent of pilot programs that test new technology. Pilot programs are the best way for technology companies who want to integrate themselves into healthcare. He added that HCA Healthcare is excited and receptive to collaborations with innovative startups to create new healthcare models. 

As an innovator, I look forward to collaborating with HCA Healthcare to support them with their technology, innovation, and care transformation agenda to bring good patient outcomes. 

With over four years of experience in the price transparency economy and over 5000 hospital data in our end-to-end price transparency tool, we can leverage our resources and information to eliminate price variations and bring complete price transparency. In addition, with our ZeaHub, the patient-centered outcomes management platform, we can create collaborative programs within and across organizations to decrease care variation, improve quality and safety, and reduce costs.

I congratulate Mr. Sam Hazen, HCA leadership, physicians, nurses, and all the staff members for their constant pursuit of improvement to provide the best care for their patients and their families. Again, I thank Mr. Sam Hazen, Mr. Hemant Taneja, and #HLTT2022 for such an excellent session.

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