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Tampa General Hospital CEO: “We don’t do pilots"

From left: GE Healthcare CEO Catherine Estrampes, Tampa General Hospital CEO John Couris and Axios reporter Erin Brodwin at a ViVE panel.

Screenshot: @HeatherLandi/X

Tampa General Hospital doesn't pilot tools from tech startups, eschewing the model followed by many peers, CEO John Couris says.

What they're saying: "We don't pilot anything in the health system anymore — we do advanced work, we scale, or we dump it," Couris told Axios on a panel with GE HealthCare U.S. & Canada CEO Catherine Estrampes at the ViVE Healthcare conference in Los Angeles.

Zoom in: Tampa works closely with GE HealthCare (Nasdaq: GEHC) and when the two partnered on GE's Command Center — an operational workflow streamlining tool — they started small, Couris said.

  • The initial focus was on shortening patients' length of stay, and gradually expanded as the program showed reliable improvement metrics, he added.
  • "Length of stay in the health system is a very big deal," Couris said. "When you can do it in a way that is sustainable and reproducible and highly reliable ... the partnership with GE has helped us through that."

Inside the room: Couris said the company also tries to be open about projects that aren't working and looks to abandon them quickly.

  • Sexy tech like smart room technology isn't immune to being on the chopping block if it's failing to drive quality outcomes, he says.

The other side: Venture firm General Catalyst has taken a drastically different approach to GEHC and Tampa General's partnership format, announcing in January that it would instead simply buy the Ohio-based Summa Health hospital system.

  • Asked why GEHC didn't take that approach, CEO Estrampes said simply, "because that would be competing with Tampa General."
  • Couris agreed. "I'm not sure it's the best thing," he said of the deal. "They risk competing with the people they may want to sell technology to."

Catch up quick: Tampa General, also a research and academic medical center, has 1,000-plus beds and employs roughly 8,000 people.

  • GE HealthCare spun out of century-old parent company GE in January, aiming to become a risk-taking entity across imaging, patient care and diagnostics.

The bottom line: "We celebrate, literally celebrate, failure: Fail, fail fast. Get back up, dust yourself off, keep moving forward and don't get stuck," Couris said.

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