Healthcare is a highly regulated field, and for good reason. A small mistake could cost a life.

But risk-averse tendencies extend far beyond clinical care to create a clunky, wasteful system. The pandemic helped healthcare providers see how nimble and innovative they could be while still providing high-quality care. Now, systems must keep up or disruption will come from the outside.

“Innovation is obviously very important in our industry because if we don’t disrupt ourselves, somebody’s going to do it for us and we’re not going to like what they do,” said John Couris, president and CEO of Florida Health Sciences, which includes Tampa General Hospital. He spoke on an April 3 panel at the Becker’s 13th Annual Meeting in Chicago. “That is a reality the industry has to get very comfortable with. I’m not suggesting to you small, incremental disruptions. We have to start to think big. We have to be bold. We have to be willing to fail, and fail fast, and learn from that, pick ourselves back up and keep pushing forward.”

Tampa General has spent time over the last several years bucking the status quo. The health system’s executives decided it can’t be all things to all people, and shied away from becoming a large system.

“I’m a product of big systems,” Mr. Couris said. He spent time at Massachusetts General Hospital and BayCare before joining Tampa General. “I understand the importance and significance of being big, but sometimes in our industry when we get really big, we think we know everything and we think we’re experts at everything. The truth of the matter is, we’re not.”

He said health systems should build relationships with entrepreneurs in venture capital and private equity, both within and outside of healthcare, and engage them in areas outside of the system’s expertise. Tampa General is seeking fewer partnerships but deeper relationships with those partners.

The most valuable partners will drive real quality improvement and lower costs so health systems can pass the value along to patients, Mr. Couris said. Tampa General also intentionally built a culture of transformation to keep up with economic pressures and patient demands.

“The first question you have to ask yourself is, do you have a culture that is ready to really embrace change and disruption. That’s critically important,” he said.

Ten years ago while other systems were focused on branding around health and wellness, Mr. Couris said Tampa General leaned into being in the care coordination and sickness businesses, which informs the system’s strategy.

“We have pivoted hard and focused almost exclusively on care coordination, and coordinating care in a frictionless environment,” Mr. Couris said. “Very much like you use your Apple phones. One of the reasons users love Apple is it’s safe, it’s intuitive, it’s frictionless, it’s integrated. These are the words the average consumer would never use to describe healthcare right now. We’ve got to think about this differently.”


This content, Tampa General Embraces ‘Fail Fast’ Culture, was originally shared by Becker’s Hospital Review on April 7, 2023.

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