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Innovations for care and research

As a learning health system, research and innovation are at the forefront of how we seek to raise the bar for healthcare everywhere.

Care Transformation and Innovation

Since our founding, HCA Healthcare has prioritized and embraced innovation to constantly address the needs of those we serve and to support our clinicians. In 2021, we launched a new strategic pillar dedicated to Care Transformation and Innovation (CT&I). Through the clinically led integration of technology into care delivery, CT&I aims to accelerate the organization into the future of healthcare through bold innovations that address current and anticipated challenges facing caregivers.

Technological advancements in artificial intelligence, cloud computing, robotic process automation and telemedicine, combined with investments we are making in education and other operational areas, create an opportunity for us to redesign how we fundamentally deliver care. The models we use today have produced good outcomes over the years, but they lack consistency across facilities and are neither as reliable nor as satisfying as healthcare demands and patients deserve.

CT&I will integrate innovative ideas from frontline clinicians and work with colleagues to test, measure and scale solutions. Currently, CT&I is prioritizing changes to mitigate frontline burnout, enhance employee well-being and deliver high-quality care to our patients and communities. This work is supported by a variety of experts across clinical care, engineering and technology groups. Labor and Delivery has been selected as CT&I’s first innovative focus area.

mother with baby

Setting new standards of care through research and innovation

technician working on server

Kasey Kelm, Technical Analyst, MidAmerica Division

HCA Healthcare utilizes findings from our more than 35 million annual patient encounters to identify opportunities to improve clinical care and support our more than 93,000 nurses and 45,000 active and affiliated physicians.

Through partnerships with GE, Google and other leading technology companies, HCA Healthcare is advancing care delivery within and outside of our hospitals. The HCA Healthcare Research Institute (HRI) is our multispecialty clinical research arm focused on advancing therapies for patients through our affiliated network of providers and care sites. HRI is supported by HCA Healthcare’s oncology research organization, Sarah Cannon Research Institute, which focuses on community-based cancer research. Together, we conduct large-scale clinical research and collaborate with institutions including Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and the CDC to unlock insights into real-world data and clinical studies that help lead to scientific breakthroughs and transform patient care.

Accelerating COVID-19 research

At the onset of the pandemic, HCA Healthcare, with support from HRI, Sarah Cannon Research Institute and its precision medicine platform, Genospace, created a COVID-19 patient registry to capture and analyze data from treating COVID-19 patients. A research study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation in 2021 analyzed data from COVID-19 patients to assess the effectiveness of convalescent plasma treatment.

In January 2021, we formed a consortium of prominent public and private research institutions to use our vast data on COVID-19 hospital care to improve patient outcomes and public knowledge. The institutions — including the federal Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ), Johns Hopkins University, Duke University, Meharry Medical College, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and others — have access to the data in a research program directed by HRI. As of Dec. 31, 2021, 12 studies were being conducted or had been completed using data from more than 210,000 patients in the HCA Healthcare COVID-19 Registry.


first-in-human clinical trials conducted across the Sarah Cannon Research Institute, 65 of which occurred in 2021.

Telehealth expansion

Throughout our network, our care teams partner with remote telehealth physicians to deliver around-the-clock, high-quality care. With more than 1,500 telehealth programs across our organization, we plan to expand our footprint in nursing, critical care and maternal-fetal medicine in 2022.

Prior to the pandemic, HCA Healthcare had an average of 3,000 telehealth patient encounters per year. Today, our telehealth providers are seeing approximately one million patients per year as the numbers have continued to climb.

“Telepsychiatry has provided advantages for patients by increasing access to care for those in remote or underserved areas, those who need specialty care and those in need of culturally sensitive care, while decreasing time and cost of travel.”

Adriana Foster, MD
Associate Regional Medical Director
Telehealth Provider Plus

Telehealth has continued to play an important role as we care for the mental well-being of our patients. In 2021, HCA Healthcare emergency rooms experienced a 40% increase in behavioral health cases. Our ER physicians can request a telehealth consult with one of our remote psychiatrists to provide important assessments and help guide the right path of care for our patients. Our telehealth services help connect patients to the right level of care at the most critical times supporting emergent stroke, neurology and psychiatry cases at more than 175 outreach sites. Our colleagues provide these critical services to rural, underserved communities to give patients the specialized care they need and help them avoid lengthy or costly travel to medical appointments.

*As of Dec. 31, 2021

Google Cloud partnership

In May 2021, HCA Healthcare and Google Cloud announced a multi-year strategic partnership to create a secure and dynamic data analytics platform for HCA Healthcare and enable the development of next generation operational models focused on actionable insights and improved workflows.

The partnership builds on our innovative use of information technology to accelerate the digital transformation taking place within our organization and the healthcare industry. With privacy and security as guiding principles of our partnership, Google Cloud does not have any access to patient identifiable data.

doctor pointing at computer screen

Hemin Qaradagi, Technical Analyst, MidAmerica Division

“We are honored to partner with HCA Healthcare on this unique opportunity to be at the forefront of advancing care through the power of real-time data availability to support clinical and operational workflows.”

Thomas Kurian
CEO, Google Cloud