December 13, 2023 | 7 minute

Why Jim Hinton Says Operational Transformation Is A Top Priority of Healthcare Right Now

scroll to top


Why are today’s health systems increasingly prioritizing digital transformation in hospital operations? How do healthcare executives eliminate operational waste or inefficiencies? How can they leverage AI and IoT technology to transform patient and staff experiences? What are the new opportunities and priorities for healthcare transformation in 2024?

To answer these questions and more,’s CEO Philipp Von Gilsa sat down with Jim Hinton, former CEO of Baylor Scott & White Health and a member of’s advisory board. Read on to gain insights from their in-depth discussion on the future of healthcare and emerging methods for scaling new tech while improving the quality of care.

Philipp Von Gilsa (PVG): Jim, how did you end up in healthcare, and why, after a career spanning nearly 40 years, are you still passionate about engaging in a relationship with providers, and technology vendors like

Jim Hinton: I originally planned to go to law school until I had a chance encounter with a hospital administrator who asked me why I would want to do that. Our talk influenced me to go to graduate school and into healthcare administration instead.

I believe this is the most important industry in the world. We as individuals and a society cannot reach our potential without healthy citizens and a high-performing healthcare system. My mission is to make healthcare better.

One of the reasons I am excited to join the advisory board of is that I believe this company is trying to make healthcare better by improving how healthcare works and saving money for hospitals and health systems that are under a lot of stress.

PVG: Let’s dive right into that. You said hospitals are under a lot of stress. What are the top one, two, or three talking points that every health system executive is currently concerned about?

Jim Hinton: I’m going to share them as if they are separate, but they all complete the other. You can’t solve one independently of the other. I do believe that the workforce issues continue to loom large. The second one that relates to that is finance. Hospitals are being hit from so many different angles with financial issues like uncertainty around reimbursement and uncertainty around their ability as health systems to more rapidly move from being inpatient-focused to being outpatient and digitally focused. And with the capital, the hospital has to spend being finite, where do you make your investments and why?

The third bucket is that healthcare consumers are not happy these days. Their prices are going up whether it’s through their employer plans, their individual plans, or their Medicare supplement plans. For states that have Medicaid, those costs are going up. So, the people who buy healthcare, whether it’s organizations, governments, or individuals, are all really stressed as well. To circle back, I think it’s workforce, finance, and resetting that contract with patients and consumers of healthcare.

PVG: I understand. And if you think of your own career as a health system CEO, how have these challenges evolved over the last four, five, or six years? Haven’t these always been a problem? What is the new dynamic?

Jim Hinton: I would like to do a webinar or talk to anybody without bringing up COVID, but you just can’t do it because it impacts where we are so profoundly. Prior to COVID, all of these issues were there, but they have jumped up in magnitude five-fold. We all remember that healthcare workers went from being heroes to villains. We were the ones who wouldn’t let families into patient rooms because of the concern of spreading COVID.

Healthcare workers are struggling with their professional identity and if this is still a revered profession. People who have the wherewithal to leave are making other choices. The supply of clinicians is down. It varies by specialty, but some specialties just aren’t seeing the interest of young people to go into them. There’s this looming cloud on the horizon of how is this going to work out.

Financially, the move to outpatient has accelerated because we tried to keep people out of hospitals during COVID-19. It puts even more focus on the non-hospital approaches to care. I think COVID-19 was the villain that has put us into this situation that we are in today.

PVG: What do you think must change in 2024, 2025, and beyond, that hospitals and health systems can do to address some of these changes?

Jim Hinton: The questions executives should ask themselves is how am I spending my time and how am I spending the money of the health system I’m entrusted with? Leader’s time is broken into their external role with policymakers that understand the pressures, but then internally making genuine, relatable connections to the workforce by spending time talking to people to understand their lived experience. That will allow them to do the second thing, how to spend their money. I believe that the bias here has to be on technology-first solutions, not brick-and-mortar solutions.

PVG: What do you mean by that? Brick and mortar vs. technology first? What’s your definition of that?

Jim Hinton: In most communities, there are a sufficient number of beds. How do you optimize the productive capacity of those hospital beds, those hospital units, and the hospital in total to get more productivity out of those existing assets? The business, the product of is right in the sweet spot of that.

PVG: We have seen such an uptick in demand. The type of technology that we provide to make health systems and hospital buildings aware of the location and flow of both patients and staff through the Cloud and AI is not new, but now everyone wants it everywhere, and they want it fast.

Jim Hinton: Big health systems have historically tended to be somewhat risk-averse in their investments prior to COVID-19. During COVID, all the risk aversion went away because the shock to the system was so profound it forced people to say, where can we invest to dramatically drive improved performance?

Let’s make it better for the nurses by tagging IV pumps and staff so the nurses want to work in our hospitals. Let’s make it better for the doctors, so they have everything they need to treat patients at their fingertips. Let’s make it better for the patients because it’s more efficient. These basics have become very glamorous in the new health system.

PVG: 75% of nurse time is spent on administrative tasks, and 25% on patient contact. There’s something wrong here that needs to be fundamentally addressed.

Jim Hinton: This is a problem that has existed for a very long time in healthcare. The post-COVID effects are true. In addition to the administrative burdens put on nurses, the clinical acuity of patients we treat in the hospital has never been higher. When nurses are at the bedside, they need to have the supplies and equipment to do their job without walking out of the rooms and spreading infections. This is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.

These are serious issues. The systems that have figured this out are going to attract and retain clinical professionals at a rate greater than those that haven’t.

PVG: A lot of listeners on the call work in a leadership position in a variety of functions. How do I build a compelling business case for any type of investment into technology in my health system today?

Jim Hinton: The CEO role is very challenging. The people who are most successful in advancing an investment thesis into the C-suite are those who understand what’s going on in the hospitals and they are extremely focused on what is best for the people we serve. I think taking that investment thesis and getting it down to the people we serve, and how we can serve them better with a technology-first solution will go a long way.

Learn more about how can deliver solutions that revolutionize your healthcare operations by signing up to watch this webinar on demand.