Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Tampa General Hospital balances tech tools and traditional acquisitions

Illustration of a cursor arrow clicking the close button on a dialogue box top bar which is attached to the top of a hospital road sign

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Tampa General Hospital is threading a delicate needle as it looks to balance creative tech tools with traditional acquisitions, CIO Scott Arnold tells Axios.

Why it matters: The laborious and lengthy process of integrating new technology into a health system is partially why General Catalyst elected to buy a hospital outright.

What he's saying: "We pull in these new assets and then we lay down our digital platform," Arnold told Axios at the ViVE health care conference last week in Los Angeles.

  • "That could be electronic medical records, analytics. Then we radiate what we're doing to all of the new acquirees that were, frankly, probably on lesser technologies."

Catch up quick: Last December, Tampa closed a deal to buy three Florida hospitals from Community Health Systems for about $294 million.

  • TGH has also been partnering with physician groups, creating professional services agreements with primary and specialty care providers, Arnold says.

Zoom in: Tech-wise, TGH is leveraging AI-driven nurse staffing predictions via a partnership with Palantir and an operational workflow streamlining tool with GE HealthCare (Nasdaq: GEHC) called Command Center to shorten patients' length of stay.

Friction point: TGH has struggled to determine exactly where GE's efforts end and where Palantir's tools begin, Arnold says.

  • "We do have a partnership with GE on the Command Center, but we're using Palantir to go a little bit deeper, where right now the GE product doesn't go," says Arnold.

The intrigue: When it comes to coordinating efforts from the tech vendors, "We haven't done a great job with that," Arnold says.

  • "We're in the process of helping determine which lane each of the technologies fits [in], because they have overlapped a little bit," Arnold says. "They're offended with each other, which is natural and normal, I think. And it's on us as the health system to determine each lane."
  • "We'll just take the best of both and blend them together," says Arnold. "But it's not easy, because I think they see themselves competing with each other."

State of play: Hospitals continue to merge at a steady pace, with some deals purely driven by costs, while others — Kaiser and Geisinger's new venture Risant Health, for example — seek to reimagine how acute care is delivered.

  • Q1 has seen Northwell Health announce plans to merge with Nuvance Health, and Tenet Healthcare shed several hospitals to various buyers including UCI Health and Novant Health.
  • San Francisco-based UCSF Health struck a $100 million dollar deal with CommonSpirit's Dignity Health to acquire two of its facilities, it announced last month.
Go deeper