Podcast How Healthcare Leaders Tackle the Toughest Data Challenges

 Robert Emerson, former VP & Head of Strategic Data Management at BCNC and current strategist at OptumLabs

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When you arrive somewhere new and you are tasked with overhauling complex and problematic legacy data systems, where do you begin? 

Well, before you even start to build your strategy, you need to know the business goals you are trying to achieve, have executive support, and understand why past efforts to achieve these goals have failed. 

This approach is how Robert Emerson, former VP and Head of Strategic Data Management at Blue Cross NC and current program strategist for OptumLabs, has consistently led teams to tackle some of the toughest data challenges in Healthcare,.

As a perceptive, creative, and logical data leader, data scientist, and advanced analytics strategist, Robert prides himself on his ability to effectively communicate with technical and non-technical colleagues alike.

Robert earned a PhD in neuroscience, but moved into the healthcare industry shortly thereafter, where he served in a variety of different data and analytics leadership roles.

He has led teams to develop, optimize, and automate operations staffing models, and developed strategic data maturity plans. These plans include creating comprehensive cloud migration initiatives, developing dashboards to deliver business insights, harnessing predictive models for proactive decision-making, and integrating machine learning to forecast operations supply and demand. 

In his current role at OptumLabs, he is helping lead strategic programs around data, analytics, and technology.

What we talked about:

  • The data challenges present in healthcare
  • Considerations when modernizing complex legacy systems
  • How business strategy should guide data strategy
  • The importance of the cloud for modern data and analytics (and the challenges migration present)
  • How to master your data from the beginning and get it right the first time
  • The role regulations and privacy concerns play in modernizing data systems
  • The attributes to look for when hiring for your teams
  • The important role diversity of thought plays in any team
  • Why data leaders need to stop underestimating the need for change management

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