Lee Pierce says that, during a career of over twenty years at Intermountain Healthcare, he “professionally grew up” under the tutelage of many influential leaders including Dr. Brent James, a well-known champion for clinical quality improvement as well as a recipient of the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award. Pierce says that having the opportunity to mature with James and others as mentors and colleagues helped shape his own mission to help support and improve healthcare processes in the same manner that engineer W. Edward Deming was able to improve and standardize manufacturing processes—using data and analytics.
That is not to say that Pierce is driven by delivering standardized and cookie-cutter approaches—far from it. The now healthcare chief data officer at Sirius Computer Solutions is driven to become a trusted partner by his clients, using data and analytics advances to improve practices not only across healthcare but for any industry where Sirius is able provide solutions to challenging problems.
The $3.6 billion technology infrastructure company’s agnostic approach and ability to integrate solutions and other partners sets it apart from the industry as it assesses shifts in care delivery, patient and customer engagement, satisfaction trends, and the impact technology has on physician and nurse efficiency and satisfaction. With this mission in mind, Sirius has even created two labs with leading healthcare organizations, both designed to develop innovative ways to address pressing problems within healthcare.
Pierce joined Sirius during one of the more poignant moments of its evolving business focus. “While Sirius has been around for over thirty years, it was widely known as an infrastructure systems integrator,” Pierce says. “In the last seven years, they’ve really shifted their focus to other value-added services and solutions in cloud, data, digital, and security.” The 2014 acquisition of Brightlight Consulting allowed for Sirius to widen its scope tremendously by harnessing Brightlight’s expertise in data, analytics, and consulting across myriad industries. Pierce was charged with building, growing, and leading the healthcare data analytics practice.
“What that really meant for my own personal mission was that I had the opportunity to help healthcare organizations across the country be able to manage and leverage their data better,” Pierce says. The role, perched right at the intersection of data analytics and healthcare, is one where Pierce has been able to make significant impact, though only a year into his new CDO position. Pierce had already built out significant data and analytics capabilities at the large and respected Intermountain Healthcare. Pierce also brought a data governance expertise that extends across industries and is especially beneficial in helping engage executives in D&A-related issues.
“I want to be able to be a trusted advisor and provide the right solutions based on our clients’ particular situations and needs. That just feels like the right thing to do, and Sirius has a business model that allows that to happen.”
Pierce says he was surprised at how much of the practical experience of building a data governance program he was able to leverage despite the work not accounting for significant portions of his time at Intermountain. “The foundation that I was able to build has been incredibly helpful in applying to both other healthcare and non-healthcare organizations.”
It’s in working with Sirius’s clients that both the company and Pierce’s own expertise becomes evident. “One of the reasons I joined Sirius is because I don’t believe that there is just one solution or solution vendor to offer clients that will meet their needs,” Pierce says. “I want to be able to be a trusted advisor and provide the right solutions based on our clients’ particular situations and needs. That just feels like the right thing to do, and Sirius has a business model that allows that to happen.”
That model, Pierce says, includes an agnostic vendor approach. “We don’t lead with a specific vendor’s software or hardware solution,” the CDO says. “We focus on the problem we’re trying to solve and use our expertise and partnerships that we have to recommend and bring the right tools and solutions to the table.”
Pierce says Sirius is particularly effective because it doesn’t simply resell software or hardware, it provides comprehensive services to help implement and support customer success. “We’re not just a hammer looking for a nail,” Pierce adds.
As the CDO moves forward in his role, he says Sirius is heavily focused on cloud, security, and digital, along with the continuing data and analytics focus. “All of these technical disciplines are so intertwined and will continue to be that way in the future,” the CDO says. “We’re moving away from that on-premises infrastructure and helping companies continue their transition to more cloud-hosted and software-as-service environments.” The difference, Pierce believes, is Sirius’ capabilities not just as a provider of service, but a solution-focused partner that is willingness to understand the intricacies of its clients’ specific business needs and tailor solutions that will deliver real, measurable business value.
As a data and analytics professional with technology as a foundation, Pierce expresses a unique satisfaction in his client-facing duties that make him a strong value-add in a CDO role. “Building a relationship with healthcare leaders who understand the complexities of healthcare, from the executives down to individual data practitioners, and delivering measurable value with data and analytics solutions, is what my job is all about,” Pierce says. “I’m not someone who judges success just by percentages of business growth. I care about happy clients and the measurable value they receive through better data and analytics capabilities and practices.”