Key Takeaways

  • A strong focus on valuing team members and fostering a supportive culture is crucial for organizational success and employee satisfaction.
  • Making decisions with integrity and prioritizing the best interests of all stakeholders are foundational principles for sustainable leadership.
  • The shift towards remote work can be an opportunity to improve organizational productivity and diversity.
  • Investing in technology and digital tools can streamline operations, improve efficiency, and enhance the connection between clients and services.
  • Leveraging technology to manage and optimize workforce solutions is critical in addressing industry-specific challenges, such as staffing shortages.
  • Creating a positive work environment and using innovative strategies for recruitment and retention are key to addressing talent shortages in critical areas.
  • The adoption of technology, including AI and virtual services, can improve patient care, enhance clinician-patient interactions, and optimize healthcare outcomes.
  • Balancing technological advancements with human compassion and ethical considerations is essential for improving healthcare experiences and outcomes.


In this episode of The Leader Show with Lou Carter, Lou sits down with John Martins, President and CEO of Cross Country Healthcare. They delve into how the company’s values have shaped it into a beloved workplace, focusing on the vital role of team member satisfaction in delivering superior service to clients. 

The discussion also covers Cross Country Healthcare’s technological advancements, including the use of AI and machine learning, to enhance efficiency and patient care in the healthcare sector. John’s insights underscore a commitment to prioritizing people and ethical practices in the industry.

Executive Summary

Hey everyone! Thanks for joining us on a brand new episode of The Leader Show with Lou Carter. Our guest today is John A. Martins, President and CEO of Cross Country Healthcare

Cross Country Healthcare is a market-leading, tech-enabled workforce solutions and advisory firm with 37 years of industry experience and insight. It helps clients tackle complex labor-related challenges and achieve high-quality outcomes while reducing complexity and improving visibility through data-driven insights.

As for John, he has over 20 years of leadership experience in healthcare. He has played a crucial role in the Cross Country’s strategic direction, digital transformation, improvement in client services, and in creating rewarding career opportunities in healthcare, education, and home care. 

This episode aims to delve into the values that made Cross Country Healthcare a Most Loved Workplace® and the vision behind its mission. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

Cultivating A Most Loved Workplace And Embracing Digital Transformation

Lou sets the tone for the discussion by asking John about his approach to leadership, his philosophy, and how he fostered a beloved workplace culture. 

John responds by highlighting that culture starts with valuing people, ensuring team members feel empowered and valued so they can provide exceptional experiences for clients and clinicians. He strongly believes that this philosophy is central to the company’s operations and contributes to its success as a Most Loved Workplace.

Additionally, John mentions the importance of doing the right thing as a core principle, ensuring that decisions are made with integrity and in the best interest of all stakeholders. He also discusses the transition to a fully remote workforce during COVID-19, viewing it as an opportunity to enhance productivity and hire talent from across the country, fostering a more diverse organization. 

The use of technology to stay connected and maintain a flat organizational structure, where communication is encouraged at all levels, is another critical aspect of his strategy.

Regarding digital transformation, John shares his journey and passion for technology, drawing parallels between Cross Country Healthcare’s operations and a supply chain. He describes the development of technologies such as Intellify, a vendor management system, and Xperience, a platform that streamlines the process for clinicians to find jobs and get placed in hospitals. 

These innovations are aimed at eliminating waste within the supply chain and improving the efficiency of connecting clinicians with hospitals, underscoring John’s commitment to leveraging technology to enhance operations.

Addressing Healthcare Staffing Challenges Through Technological Innovation And Strategic Workforce Solutions

Moving on, John elaborates on how Cross Country Healthcare leverages technology to address healthcare staffing challenges, particularly amid the ongoing nurse and physician shortages exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The technology allows for both internal and external management of labor supply, facilitating hospitals in utilizing their staff more efficiently across multiple locations within the same system. This enables them to save on costs through improved float pool management.

John further discusses the broader context of the healthcare staffing crisis. He notes a persistent nurse shortage over the past two decades and a significant increase in burnout among nurses and physicians during the pandemic, leading many to leave bedside care. Citing a McKinsey study, he highlights the projected million nurse shortage within the next decade and emphasizes the critical role of technology in providing just-in-time staffing solutions. 

This approach helps hospitals avoid closing beds by supplying them with necessary temporary staff, such as travel nurses or physicians, ensuring that communities continue to receive high-quality care.

Strategic Approaches To Enhance Nurse Retention And Recruitment In Remote Communities

Next, Lou asks John for strategies to find clinical talent in hard-to-reach communities. In response, John highlights the importance of critical access care hospitals and the difficulty in securing talent for these essential but often remote facilities. He mentions the critical gap in acute care nursing, emphasizing the urgent need to boost nursing graduates to meet escalating demand.

John emphasizes creating a positive work environment for nurses, focusing on reducing their administrative burdens so they can concentrate on patient care. By ensuring nurses don’t have to worry about payroll, credentialing, or hospital issues, Cross Country Healthcare aims to improve job satisfaction and engagement among nurses, ultimately enhancing patient care.

Furthermore, John addresses the need for a holistic approach to nurse retention that goes beyond compensation. While acknowledging that competitive salaries and bonuses are important, he argues that creating a work environment where nurses feel valued and respected is crucial for retention. 

Hospitals that offer great work experience and demonstrate appreciation for their nursing staff are more likely to retain them. This, coupled with efforts to improve work-life balance, can help mitigate the high attrition rates in the healthcare industry, contributing to better outcomes for both healthcare professionals and patients.

Embracing Technology For A Future-Ready Healthcare Workforce: Virtual Nursing And AI-Enhanced Clinical Environments

On a similar note, John addresses the complexities of maintaining a nurturing and efficient clinical environment amidst the increasing demands of high-tech healthcare systems. He highlights the potential of virtual nursing as a partial solution to alleviate the workload on floor nurses, allowing them to focus more on patient-oriented tasks. 

John is optimistic about the role of technology in creating more flexible working conditions, such as part-time roles that cater to the personal needs of healthcare professionals. Thus, it opens up a new sector in the workforce that has not been fully embraced before.

Lou and John further discuss the importance of meeting healthcare professionals where they are, emphasizing quality of life, compensation, and the ability to provide patient-centered care within a technologically-driven environment. John advocates for the use of technology to simplify clinical tasks, including the deployment of wearables to monitor patient behaviors and health indicators, thereby easing the burden on clinicians.

The conversation also touches on the significance of understanding and improving daily workflows through direct observation and engagement. John expresses a particular interest in leveraging AI and machine learning to automate mundane tasks, thereby improving the work experience for internal team members and contributing to overall job satisfaction.

AI In Healthcare: Enhancing Clinician-Patient Interactions And Optimizing Treatment Outcomes

After that, John and Lou delve into the transformative potential of AI in healthcare, focusing on enhancing clinician-patient interactions and outcomes. The former emphasizes the critical role of human interaction in healthcare, notwithstanding the efficiency and accuracy AI brings to data analysis and routine tasks. He envisions a future where AI handles much of the background work, enabling clinicians to spend more quality time with patients, thereby improving care and the overall healthcare experience.

They explore the concept of generative AI, which can interpret and organize vast amounts of data, including physicians’ notes, into actionable insights. It could standardize and optimize treatment plans across the healthcare system, leading to better patient outcomes. John is excited about the precision of AI-driven diagnostics and treatments, foreseeing a future with less need for second opinions due to high confidence in AI analyses.

Lou highlights the resistance to AI adoption, often fueled by fears of job loss. However, John counters this by pointing out the shift towards roles that healthcare professionals find more fulfilling, such as direct patient care. He argues that AI and machine learning will allow clinicians to spend more time with patients, improving both patient safety and satisfaction.

They both agree that the ultimate goal is to improve the patient experience through technology, emphasizing that embracing AI and other technological advancements can lead to significant improvements in healthcare outcomes. John concludes by reminding us that keeping the patient’s welfare at the forefront and doing the right thing will guide the successful integration of technology in healthcare, avoiding the pitfalls of over-regulation and over-engineering.

The Future Of Healthcare With AI-Driven Staffing Solutions

Towards the end of the episode, John discusses Cross Country Healthcare’s future focus on AI and machine learning to improve healthcare staffing and efficiency. He emphasizes the industry’s current state, which largely revolves around predictive analytics and machine learning, and expresses excitement for the transition toward true generative AI. 

John proposes using AI to analyze trends and predict nurses’ preferences for assignments, improving their experiences and attracting more professionals to the nursing field. He highlights a nurse-centric strategy for patient benefit, drawing from his medical family background to stress compassion’s essential role in healthcare.

John argues for a balanced integration of human compassion and technological advancements to improve the healthcare experience for both practitioners and patients.

Finally, Lou praises John for keeping humanity and ethical considerations at the forefront of digital transformation in healthcare. John reiterates the importance of merging technology with human insight to create meaningful improvements in healthcare delivery. 

Thank you for your time!


Lou Carter : Today. I'm excited to welcome John A. Martins, President and CEO of Cross Country Healthcare to our show. Ranked number 58 in the 2023 America's Top 100 Most Loved Workplaces, Cross Country Healthcare stands out for its commitment to values that resonate deeply with its diverse workforce, emphasizing, healing, teaching, helping and guiding.

With over 20 years of leadership experience in healthcare, John has been pivotal in shaping the company's strategic direction and driving its digital transformation. His work has not only improved client services and labor and talent solutions, but also created rewarding career opportunities in healthcare, education and home care. Join me right now for a great conversation on the values that makes Cross Country Healthcare a Most Loved Workplace and the vision that's guiding its mission.

Great to have John Martins on with us today. We're going to talk about where he works and how he does it to learn about his leadership today, and I've already had a great conversation with John, so I feel like we're going to have an even better one now.

Learning from John and all he does as CEO of Cross Country Healthcare and his vision, mission, personal values around people, putting people first, it's real. He believes it deeply and he lives it deeply because he is in the people business of ensuring that at the bedside, physicians, people who are helping patients are living what he is providing for employees on the inside, right? And really importantly, doing the right thing. I would be much more open to working with John who wants you to do the right thing. He wants you to be honest with him. It's so important.

Ask for forgiveness before permission when you know it's the right thing. He has the right stuff to be a CEO of Cross Country Healthcare. We're going to hear about his philosophy, how he's created this most loved workplace at Cross Country Healthcare, how it really has become so strong since COVID and now beyond. John, welcome!

John A. Martins : Hey, well thank you, Lou. Thank you for having me on today.

LC : It's great to have you. Let's start. There's so many things that you do at Cross Country Healthcare to enable this culture of belonging, of safety, psychological safety, and really with your whole ecosystem in mind, your customers and who they're serving, their patients and your employees. Tell me whether this comes from for you and your philosophy around people and how that's been pervasive inside of cross country.

Cultivating A Culture Of Value And Connection In A Remote Workforce [02:54]

JM : Well, sure. When we talk about creating a great workforce, it starts with culture, right? And everyone talks about culture, but what is culture really? Culture is all about your people and you need to take care of your team members and your people first and foremost. And that's really been the story of Cross Country.

What we've done is we said we're going to create exceptional experiences for our team members because we know in turn, if we can create a place where our team members feel valued, they feel empowered, they're going to create exceptional experiences for our clients and exceptional experiences for our clinicians that are at the bedside working at these hospital systems and healthcare systems around the country.

So it really starts with creating a value that our internal team members are really going to feel valued so that they can pass it along to our clients and our clinicians

LC : That value, the feeling of value. The feeling I got from you is it starts from you really right? In your entire team. They feel comfortable with you. Tell me how your vision and values in that way and how you work together. I get that sense the first time I talk to you, this comfort factor of let's get good things done at the core of doing the right thing. Tell me about that with you and how you've established that culture beyond playing cahoots, which is pretty cool at virtual happy hours, which has come in, and how you've created what's really called a connected organization even at disconnected places in time.

JM : Yeah. Well, we have one rule, as you alluded to, just to do the right thing because it's the right thing to do. So that's the core principle of everything we do. If we know we do the right thing, everyone get taken care of, but also how do you get connected to all of your employees now, like every other business in America or the world? During 2020 and 21, we became a full remote workforce due to COVID and we had to really figure out how are we going to embrace this work from home model? And some companies did really well and some companies didn't, and we were an organization that embraced it. And through COVID, we came up with a new policy and we said, you know what? As we started coming back to the office, we said, we want people to work where the most productive.

And what we found is most people we're really more productive at home, but if you want to work in an office, as matter of fact, because we're fully remote now, unless you want to work an office, we'll actually get an office in a place where we don't have an office because now because we're not tied to physical locations, we're able to hire incredible talent from across the country now and not are just stuck in our South Florida office or Atlanta office or our California offices. We're now having talent across the country, which is really important to build a true diverse organization with team members.

And so that's part of the strategy, but part of the strategy is also to make sure you're connected using this technology. Part of the strategy is, at Cross Country, we have a flat organization and I think that's very key. Anyone in our organization can come and pick up the phone and speak to me in my email signature. I actually put my cell phone number because we encourage people to speak with each other. We encourage team members to engage with other people outside of just their own. We don't want to be a silent organization, and that's really, really important at Cross Country.

LC : John, we had first opened up the conversation realizing that this is yet another platform to use and how that creates a learning curve in and of itself. You have been in charge of and been playing an instrumental role, the digital transformation at Cross Country. How did that go for you? Tell me your journey for that. I know it's substantial having a digital transformation.

JM : Well, sure. Well, it's my passion. I started out my career as a software developer at UPS in the nineties, and I've always been around technology. So when I hear I can have a play a part in digital transformation and even better even lead a digital transformation, that really gets me excited. And really when I look at what we do as an organization, we take doctors and nurses and our goal is to find those doctor nurses and connect them to hospitals. And if I look at it is we're just supply chain.

And not to make ourselves sound too important, but we're similar to Amazon that we're trying to get a product to the end client, which in our case is a hospital. And what's the best way to do that is you have to eliminate waste within your supply chain. And that's where technology becomes a big player.

So how do we create a technology and platform that transfers the nurse or doctor from the door to the floor of the hospital as quick as possible? And that's really what we started out with. We created technologies such as Intellify, which is a vendor management system, which allows hospitals put all their orders in and then it goes out and we can send it to one vendor or we can send it to a thousand vendors at a time. So hospitals can choose the highest quality clinician to go work for 'em.

And then we created a technology called Xperience with an X and Xperience helps the clinicians find those jobs in real time. They're able to upload all their credentials and documents and then get submitted to a hospital. So it's really taking an easy path for clinicians and hospitals to connect them and make their jobs a lot easier.

LC : When they get connected. Is it based on demand and supply and is it between and among hospitals that are sometimes part of the same ecosystem? Does that happen too? So you can use it as a management tool as well as an external management recruiting tool?

Leveraging Technology To Address Healthcare Staffing Challenges Amidst Shortages [08:11]

JM : That's correct. So you can use it as Cross Country can help you find those temporary or permanent labor through our technology, or we can also help in flow pool management, where we can help with hospitals that set up multi-hospital system and that they want to utilize their internal staff to pick up shifts to save them money. So we'll use that technology for internal folks as well.

LC : Excellent. So you can do internal supply, external supply, sharing amongst a large network.

JM : That's correct. And it's all about, look, if we look at what happened over the last several years, there's been a nurse shortage for 20 years and a physician shortage, but over COVID, we saw so many of nurses and physicians get burned out, have fatigued and left the industry. They don't want to be at the bedside anymore.

And now how do you replace those nurses? And so according to McKinsey study that was done two years ago, there's going to be a million nurse shortage in 10 years. I think they're saying there's something about 450-500,000 nurse shortage right now. And so how can we use technology to get just in time staffing for when hospitals have to close beds, let's help them with a travel nurse or pretty immersive for what we do across country. Let's get them that clinician or that doctor so they can keep beds open in communities so we can again, help that end patient have the really highest quality care.

LC : John, this is something I wanted to learn more about as well, is we talked about communities that perhaps aren't as easily accessible, hard to find talent. How do you solve for that in general? Hard to find clinical talent?

Enhancing Nurse Satisfaction And Retention Through Empowerment And Value Recognition [09:35]

JM : Well, critical access care hospitals are crucial to the country, and those are the ones where it's really hard to find talent. And as census ebbs and flows, they're able to utilize a company like Cross Country to go and bring in help for maybe it's 13 weeks or even 26 weeks or a full year as they're trying to find those permanent people to work. And again, it's a challenge right now there are, I think about a little over 3 million nurses in the country and only about 1.7 million nurses work in acute care.

The numbers are really staggering that we probably need to graduate probably 150,000 nurses a year to make up this shortage. And we're far short of graduating that than nurses right now.

LC : Wow. That's the truth. You're living in that shortage and need, so the demand is even higher. We talked about too, around the importance of engaging and empowering nurses as well as employees. So it's really about how do you help them or help them feel more valued and empowered both internally in your employee base as well as those that you place?

JM : Sure. Well, it starts with the nurses on the front line. We've got to make sure that we're taking care of them through our employees. And of course, as we said earlier, if we create a great experience for our internal employees, they're going to feel empowered to create great experiences for the nurses on the front line.

And that's so important when we have a nurse on the front line, we want to make sure that they're not worrying that if their payroll is correct or that they have documents or credentialing that's going to expire, or if there's any issues at the hospital, we want to be able to intercede and help them to create a great experience because they don't have to worry about all of the block and tackle issues. They can actually focus on patient care. And that's really our goal is to make sure our nurses are happy, engaged and focusing on the inpatient care at the hospitals.

LC : Happy, engaged. That's not easy, right? Because here's the thing, bonuses are higher for nurses, right? Salaries are increasing because of the shortage, and at the same time they're talking salary comp benefits. And we've always found is that when they talk that first and the comments and the feedback, there's usually something underneath it or underlying, right? And what we're saying is that change can be expensive when you increase comp salary benefits alone, right?

So, transformation, we have to look at the deeper things, the collaboration, the respect and values, the vision, how we achieve together to make our lives even better at work, because that's what people really want these days is a better life at work since we're trading off so many things.

JM : Correct. And I think if we can create better work life balances with our clinicians, if we can create, well, yes, it's going to always be very high about the money with any industry, but if you can create a great experience, an exceptional experience at the hospitals too, nurses are going to go where they feel valued.

And that's what we need to do. We need to create programs within hospitals where nurses feel valued because I think when they feel valued, they're less likely going to leave. And we're seeing that now and we're seeing as pay is coming up in hospitals, we're seeing lower attrition in hospitals, which is a good thing for everyone.

LC : John, I did a study back when I was at Columbia getting my master's degree on nurse satisfaction, nurse satisfaction, and besides 401(k) being upset about that and salary compensation, which back then was 2001 wasn't good. It was a different world for nurses. This thing that stayed the same though was the respect they felt by patients. They were being given these tasks that they had to do after the doctor left the room and they were upset by it. I'm the one who has to take care and clean the mess up, take care of the hard stuff when you leave and do your procedure or practice.

And it's only gotten harder with the advent of having to take so many notes and having to have throughput. So incredibly difficult these days. So how can we manage and maintain this awesome culture that we really want in the clinical environments while still balancing this need for high tech, less touch?

Innovating Healthcare Staffing: Embracing Flexibility, Technology, And Personalized Care [13:41]

JM : That's the Rosetta Stone, right of this. We have to figure out how to create this balance. And I think part of it's going to be we see a lot of hospitals now just starting to delve into the virtual nursing world. I think that's going to be part of the solution. It's interesting. I don't think there's not one solution that fits all. It's not one solution that's going to solve this whole problem, but I think it's a lot of little solutions.

And I'm excited about what virtual nursing can bring to the world, where we can take a lot of work off of a floor nurse by doing it virtually and having people be more focused on task-oriented as compared to patient-oriented tasks. And I think that's the start of it, but I think there's going to be five or six or seven or 10 other things that are going to help us do this.

I think by creating more, and we're seeing it also in hospitals now. Instead of creating just working three 12 hour shifts or four 10 hour shifts, now we're embracing, well, maybe we'll bring in nurses or other healthcare professionals that will only work maybe 8, 12, 24 hours. We don't need full-time. We can cobble up a lot of part-time people. And instead of saying, we only take full-time people, let's meet the employee where they want to be.

And a lot of employees want to be part-time. I want to be able to be with my children. I want to be able to care for my elderly parent. I want to be able to just enjoy semi-retirement at the age of 45, and I only want to work. And now if we embrace that, we can create a whole new sector in the workforce that we didn't really embrace before.

LC : Love it. And physicians say the same thing. They want quality of life, good compensation if they want it, meet them. Exactly right. We need the same things. We need to take care of ourselves as practitioners in order to help others. That's really what you're enabling is this environment to go back to patient-centered care within a highly regulated notes driven environment that requires technology. You may as well do it through tech to create patient-centered care because everything else is even more challenging these days.

JM : Well, make it easy. Use technology to make it easier. And I think you alluded to earlier, when we first started using technology with EMRs, we made it tougher to be a clinician, and now we have to figure out how do we use technology? How do we use wearables on patients to make the clinician's life easier, not harder?

LC : Absolutely. Wearables are essential to understand behaviors. That day, this wonderful leader, his name is Ray Williams, he's a CEO, and he's incredible at what he does. One thing he did that he still does is he has physician days. This is what he does. They thought he was crazy at first. They called him Crazy Ray from California. He went to the physician, he serves physicians. He's the head of a large clinic. He goes to the car, he opens up their door, they said, what are you doing here, Ray? You're the CEO. He says, I'm opening up the door. I'm going to be following you today. What do you mean you're following me? He says, I want to follow you and figure out during this day what is happening so I can meet you where you're at. They said, that's crazy. Just stay away. I've got a lot of patients today.

He says, no, I'm not going to stay away. I'm going to bring you back to your car at the end of the day. And he did. And he has a running list of things that he sees he can improve for their lives and running things that he can do wise, helping wise maintenance, any of the things that make this physician's lives harder. He found out from a personal basis, that's what it sounds like you're doing, John, is you're really getting to the crux of what people want, giving it to them so they can live a better life and care for the patients better.

JM : You know what it's all about would say people, processes, technology and culture, and we acknowledge what the culture part is and the people, but then it's technology and process and we look at everything and say, well, the least thing you want to do is throw a lot of people at something, right? You can solve your problem that way, but it's not effective and people get burnt out and you throw a lot of people on a process. Can you change the process to make it better like your friend did. He went there and said, lemme look at the processes to make it better.

And then ultimately where my passion comes in is look at those processes and create technologies around them. So not only we talk about the technologies we're creating for our clinicians in our hospitals, but we're also creating technologies, AI, machine learning internally so that we can take tasks that our internal team members are doing and automate those. And because when you do that, you're going to have greater job satisfaction when someone doesn't have to do a lot of those mundane tests that are really boring, and a computer can do that much faster than us.

LC : AI can certainly do it faster. I mean, so many records in EMRs and we say, well have the physicians come in and tell us what they're doing. Give that human in the loop. Well actually let 'em come in at the last 5% of it because A, they're not going to want to do it. All this record management, and B, there's a certain amount that can be done already through AI. The 5%, maybe it's two, right? John, two humans in the loop. What is it these days? How much human in the loop do we really need within your context as you're saying, what's the percentage need?

AI's Role In Enhancing Clinician-Patient Interactions And Outcomes [18:30]

JM : What you look at just on the algorithm and the data that are going to be analyzed more accurately by AI, it's just clearly that you need at the end, you need the human interaction. That's where we need, but imagine the patient care or internal value that an employee will feel or a nurse, a doctor will feel at the bedside if they're only really dealing with patient care. If you're like most people, you go to see a doctor and that doctor sees you for five or 10 minutes nowadays because they're so busy with EMRs or so busy trying to see enough patients, they only have five or 10 minutes for you.

Imagine if AI is doing all that work behind the scenes and you can actually have a conversation with your doctor, or you're getting those reports ahead of time from AI about what you'd want to have the conversation with your doctor. That's really the future of what healthcare is going to be.

LC : Absolutely. And imagine the incredible possibilities with generative AI, right? Giving the disparate not chicken scratch, literally understanding the chicken scratch, translating it into text, that text being translated into understanding, that understanding being translated into generative instruction.

JM : Well, and think about all of the prescribed methodologies that a doctor will go over. And if that's all combined and you're looking at it now nationally from hospitals around the country, you're going to be able to prescribe the best medications to get the best outcomes. That's exciting about what's the next generation of what's coming in AI and generative AI. That's what I'm excited about because we're going to be able to say, look, here's 98% of what your symptoms say, actually equal this, and you're not going to need a second opinion in the future because you're going to be at a 99% rate. This is your issue and this is how we're going to fix the issue for you.

LC : And that's about embracing it too. People, they worry they're going to lose their job or instead of losing your job, think about the right thing, which is you're sitting with a patient, you leave them alone for 50 minutes, going back to your computer and doing a web search.

And because you're getting rid of the backlog of 10 patients you didn't take care of. So now I'm back in line 10 people, I'm 50 minutes in, I have an infection. I need this thing to be sent. The difference is I'm wearing my glasses, I see it, I speak it, I press button, I speak it. I immediately get the diagnostic. I say, send it to nurse, send it to the pharmacy. I say, thank you very much. I have more time to talk to that individual. I can establish rapport and patient-centered input, and I have more time for it. So why are we pushing against this, right? Because we’re stopping Moore's law, by not investing in it.

JM : People are afraid of losing their job, right? Because it's more of you render to me useless, but that's not the case. It's going to be a new definition of what you do, and it'll be something what you mostly enjoy, right? Most people don't enjoy the research and going, there are plenty of people who do enjoy research. There'll be plenty of jobs and opportunities for you, but most people who are at the patient's side, they care about being with the patient and solving the patient's issues and taking care of patients through AI, through machine learning, will be able to, in a much greater way, spend more time with the patient, and that's going to improve the patient's safety. It's going to improve the patient's satisfaction.

You talk about HCAHPS scores, what's going to improve HCAHPS scores? Having people feel that they are taken care of, that they're being discharged at nine o'clock when you're supposed to and not at four o'clock when you're being told you're being discharged at nine o'clock. And that's all through technology, whether it's virtual nursing, AI, wearables, this all is interconnected into creating an incredible experience for patients through the healthcare system. And we're at the infancy stages, but you can see how this will escalate and exponentially over the next few years.

LC : And we've seen this shift. It's really a curve that keeps going up and down throughout the years. A little bit like the airline industry, right? With the days of the Warby Parker MD, we loved going to the doctor. It was an incredible experience. We valued that doctor so much and our HCAHPS scores were high, right?

Now what happens? Well, they're at all time low. People are hating hospitals, hating clinical experiences. They think they can do it on their own because we haven't harnessed it. We haven't harnessed it. And we're at the top Warby Parker now we're going down, we have high tech, we have regulations and needs for even more tech, but now we're not embracing it.

Now, we have to go to here, embracing, embracing, embracing. Now we can hit that place where we have high HCAHPS scores, high patient experience, and we embrace the possibilities of what tech can do for us rather than what it does to us.

JM : Well, I think we have to remember too, at the end of the day, it's really all about the patient and the patient experience. And if we don't forget about that, I think again, doing the right thing, it's the right thing to do. If we remember the right thing to do is taking care of the patient and their experience, the technology will solve the problems for us. When we think about it, it's when we get in our own way and we try to over-engineer something that is where we run into trouble. When we over regulate and over-engineer, that's where we get into issues.

LC : I love it, John. John, I know you love digital transformation tech and you've made that yours a passion of yours. Can you share what's on your roadmap? Is that something you can share? Your product roadmap?

Shaping The Future Of Nursing: AI Meets Human Care [23:47]

JM : I give you a little bit insights, but a lot of it goes to what we're talking about now is AI, machine learning kind of, I alluded to earlier, how to create more efficiencies through workload. And we're at the infancy stages as well of AI because not many people are really doing true Artificial Intelligence. I think we're doing predictive analytics, we're doing some machine learning, but truly to get to generative AI, we're not there yet.

And I think that's the future. And that's how a great example would be. Imagine if a nurse we know a year ahead of time where she's going to take an assignment before even she knows where we're going to take the assignment, because we're going to be looking at all, we're going to get all big data. We're going to look at her trends, her patterns, and then we're going to predict based on her persona, where she's going to go next and offer up those jobs.

If we can do that and really be able to get ahead of it, that's going to create a better experience for nurses. And then hopefully that will enable more people to say, I want to join the nursing profession because wow, what a great experience I've had.

LC : It's nurse centric to get patient-centric.

JM : Correct.

LC : You start from the practitioner and then the patient benefits. That's the brilliance of that model.

JM : Yeah, and it's interesting. So my father was a doctor. My mother was a nurse. And so I learned really early on, my father was the logical one as a doctor, and my mother was the compassionate one at the bedside. Not that they both weren't compassionate, but my mother created that compassion at the bedside. And when you look at what happens in healthcare, our healthcare system is so nurse centric and we need to get our nurses back to becoming, being able to engage with our patients and be there as that nurse centric cog in the healthcare system.

LC : It makes the experience so much better to feel like you're cared for rather than forgotten.

JM : A hundred percent

LC : With such vulnerability during these experiences. It's just incredible. Well, John awareness is getting this right, and that's the key is that you find CEOs who don't necessarily look at the core components of humanity. You lose track of things. You lose track of what matters most and what's doing the right thing. You've made that the center of what you're doing. I just love that about what you're doing.

I completely understand what you mean about the machine learning approach, and we've done that as well within how we look at feedback. And that's what you're doing on your PRD is just the analysis of feedback and applying human logic to it, and also text information to inform what should be. So having that perspective and ethical implications for what should be is what sets you apart.

JM : A hundred percent. And that's our philosophy, right? How do you combine human and technology together to create that differentiator that's going to create a better world?

LC : I love it. John Martin's here with us today, CEO of Cross Country. What a great experience being with you today, John, and learning from you and having a conversation with you about what the future and world must be around healthcare in order for us to make positive shifts in humanity and the way we care for and with each other. John, thanks for coming on today to the Newsweek Most Loved Leader show.

JM : Thank you, Lou.