When a contingent of Hartford HealthCare (HHC) leaders visited Israel in 2019, the mission was clear: to identify a partner in technology, vision and innovation that could collaborate with the organization, advancing its passion for finding solutions to improve access, quality and safety, and patient experience.
Jeff Flaks, president and CEO of Hartford HealthCare, is confident a perfect match was made with the Israeli Innovation Authority (IIA). On March 5, Flaks sat side-by-side with IIA CEO Aharon Aharon (see photo above), signing a memorandum of understanding. By doing so, the stage is set for Israeli startups to collaborate with HHC in an effort to develop new technologies, products and services that will enhance the patient experience in the region.
The impact of the agreement goes beyond the walls of Hartford HealthCare.
“We celebrate a partnership that will create jobs, it will stimulate the economy, and it will improve the health and wellbeing of our communities,” Flaks said. Noting that healthcare is a driver of economic health, he lauded the 20,000 experts who come to Hartford HealthCare each year from around the world to study innovation and advance healthcare.
As the state’s second-largest employer, Hartford HealthCare’s commitment to the city of Hartford does not go unnoticed by local and state leaders. Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin praised HHC, not only for transforming healthcare, but for helping transform and support the city of Hartford, noting the organization’s latest investment in downtown with a plan to open the new Hartford HealthCare Access Center on Pearl Street.
“This is a city with incredible institutions that are on the cutting edge of their industries,” said Bronin. “Hartford HealthCare is on the cutting edge of the transformation of healthcare.”
“You can’t export these kinds of jobs,” said Matt Ritter, House Majority Leader of the state’s General Assembly. “These are the kinds of jobs that you want in the city.”
The partnership is mutually beneficial. For the Israeli Innovation Authority, Hartford HealthCare’s commitment is an opportunity for startups and innovators to collaborate on an international level, creating a pipeline for Israeli companies to bring advancements to the region. It is an opportunity to turn concepts into reality with tangible solutions and products.
“Innovation comes out of necessity,” said Aharon. “I believe that we can build a wonderful system together. Here, we have the chance to build a real product, taking innovation and turning into a fantastic product.”
“A few days ago, I was on a panel and was I describing Israel as the Silicon Valley of the Middle East,” said State Treasurer Shawn Wooden. “And to bring that together in Connecticut, in Hartford, is an amazing fete.”
“Israel is largely recognized as a start-up nation,” said Flaks. “The ambition for this partnership is to leverage our expertise in product development and to help accelerate Israeli-based technologies and companies to advance their capabilities to reach United States markets.”
Flaks is emphatic about the future of the alliance. “I pledge to the delegation today,” he said. “Undoubtedly, we will be the best partner. I’m certain of it.”
And while the signing was finalized not with a handshake, but an elbow bump in deference to COVID-19 concerns, one thing was clear. Hartford HealthCare and the Israeli Innovation Authority are moving forward together into exciting new territory.
For more information on Hartford HealthCare Innovation, click here.