HCA Healthcare
February 08, 2024


Source: Nashville Business Journal
Author: Nikki Ross
Date: February 8, 2024

HCA Healthcare’s CEO Sam Hazen is on board with artificial intelligence. 

“I think the idea of artificial intelligence streamlining administrative processes across the whole health system is a real advantage for patients and for members, for organizations on the insurance side of the space, for the provider side of the space,” Hazen said. 

Hazen took to the stage as moderator Wednesday at the Nashville Health Care Council’s 2024 Wall Street Perspective on the Healthcare Industry. It’s there that he brought up the topic of AI in health care. 

The use of artificial intelligence has boomed across the health care and business world over the past year. As AI evolves, more business leaders across Nashville are embracing the technology and figuring out how it can improve efficiency. The health care space specifically has been more cautious with the implementation of AI and has focused on its advancements on the administrative side. 

“It may create some battles … but the opportunity to move through the administrative complexities of the system with a technology solution is there,” Hazen said. 

HCA (NYSE: HCA) is Nashville’s largest publicly traded company by revenue, according to Business Journal research, with 27,694 employees locally in 2023. The hospital system operates 186 hospitals and 2,400 ambulatory sites of care across 20 states and the United Kingdom. 

During the company’s earnings call last week, Hazen said in 2024 HCA will be focusing on advancing digital capabilities across the company, which includes innovation and AI in their care transformation and innovation program. 

What the panelists had to say about AI

The possibilities for the use of AI in the health care space appear endless. 

Brian Tanquilut, health care services equity research analyst for Jefferies LLC, said the most direct use of AI in health care is in diagnostics. 

“There’s actually technology out there now where you can run diagrams in AI and they can read it,” Tanquilut said. “The problem is payers are not willing to pay for it. I think there is runway there, there is innovation."

For Whit Mayo, senior managing director of health care providers and managed care for Leerink Partners, there isn’t an organization that comes across his desk that does not start with “technology enabled.”

“AI is cool,” Mayo said. "I think long term there’s going to be a massive clinical benefit and cost benefit gained from this kind of operating [system].”

Not everyone was as optimistic. Gary Taylor, managing director of health care facilities and managed care for TD Cowen expressed his concerns during the panel.

“I think AI is a threat,” Taylor said. “Payers are using this to engage in cyber warfare.” 

Founded in 1995, the Nashville Health Care Council is the most prominent organization representing Nashville’s massive health care industry. Often referred to as the “campfire” around which the city’s health care leaders gather, the council is made up of more than 315 corporate members. The group hosts its Wall Street perspective event annually.