CBIA BizCast: Hartford Healthcare’s Jeff Flaks
Hartford HealthCare president Jeff Flaks’ decision to move headquarters to downtown Hartford was just the beginning of a broader vision.
A Connecticut native, he’s on a mission to strengthen the state’s economy and make Connecticut a leader in healthcare.
“I just think that our state has tremendous upside and amazing culture. And you know, I think our best days are still in front of us,” Flaks told the BizCast team.
Hartford HealthCare officially opened its new headquarters at the corner of Pearl and Trumbull Streets in November 2022.
“To think about our commitment to Hartford, it goes back centuries, but this is a recommitment,” Flaks said.
“We chose Hartford because we want to be part of reigniting the city.”
Hartford HealthCare is looking to be an economic catalyst and support businesses in the area.
“It’s about recognizing we have a broader purpose,” he said.
“We have a huge impact as the second largest employer in the state of Connecticut and as an organization of our size and scale, we can do more.”
Flaks says the new headquarters will be a center that highlights collaboration, culture and innovation, allowing them to develop new companies and partnerships.
It wasn’t long after relocating that Flaks made another major announcement: a new five-year partnership with Google.
Hartford HealthCare is moving its data to Google Cloud’s Healthcare Data Engine as part of the partnership and leveraging Google’s Contact Center AI for digital patient engagement.
“If we can bring more Googles, if we can do more companies like that, that’s good for everyone,” he said.
“Our job is to try to create as much success, prosperity, and clearly health and wellness for our entire community.”
Flaks said the partnership with Google is an example of Hartford Healthcare’s ambition to deliver world class healthcare to people in Connecticut.
“We can be a model healthcare system for the country,” he said.
“We have the educational systems. We have the talent here to draw from. We have a culture of collaboration and alignment and well intended people who work together across different industries.
“I’m so pro the Connecticut business community. I’m grateful for what CBIA does, which is critical to creating a sense of community.”
Brighter, More Affordable Future
As Flaks looks to the future, he’s taking the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It inspired me, it just inspired me, what I saw in terms of the human spirit,” he said.
“When people were running to home to shelter, our people were running in to help to support the community, to support people in those greatest moments. There’s no words to describe it.
“Our ambition is not to go back to normal, like it was in so many parts of our lives. It was to be better than normal, and we already are better than normal.”
He says for healthcare to improve in Connecticut, it must be more accessible, affordable, and equitable. That requires thinking differently.
“This state is a historic state, it’s a very special state, it’s got a great rich tradition,” he said.
“But our job, people like me who are in these roles today, is to look forward and imagine what it could be, and to build on that history—to take it to the next place, you know, while we’re in these roles and not waste one of these moments.
“There’s a mural right around the corner that says ‘The future of healthcare starts here.’
“This is just the beginning.”
The CBIA BizCast is made possible through the generous support of Google. Please rate, review, and subscribe to the BizCast wherever you get your podcasts—we appreciate your support! If you have a story to tell, contact Amanda Marlow.
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