Behind the Scenes
Q&A with Chief Analytics and Technology Officer
As a female leader in healthcare technology, BioIQ’s Chief Analytics and Technology Officer Debbie Dean knows what it’s like to be a groundbreaker and what it takes to help an organization incorporate technologies that make a difference.
Throughout her time in the industry, she’s seen remarkable innovations and an enormous shift in acceptance of technology across all constituents. Her background and career experience bring fresh ideas and expertise to a vitally important role for BioIQ.
With all of the companies in the healthcare industry moving to update and adopt new technologies, what drew you to BioIQ?
Over the past 25 years, I’ve had the privilege of working with some great companies and people. One of the things I’ve learned in my career is that it’s the people you work with who ultimately make the difference between a good job and a great one.
While I was drawn to BioIQ because of its team, I also very much appreciate the company’s mission. I feel very fortunate to now have an opportunity to join a company pursuing a mission to help save people’s lives and make a positive difference in their health. It’s a pleasure to work with a great management team dedicated to making the mission a reality.
As Chief Analytics and Technology Officer, you are going to be working on many initiatives, which one excites you the most?
I think one of the mistakes we sometimes make in the technology field is not considering how real people use our technology. Is it easy for them, does it frustrate them, will they use it? BioIQ understands the true role and value of technology. We make a concerted effort to reach people where they are, not where we think they are or where we want them to be because we have some new tech.
I am very excited to work on the Engagement Engine and artificial intelligence components around engaging people in their preferred mode of communication, when they want to be engaged, and how often they want to be engaged. We believe 100 percent in technology – but we use it to ensure it works best for the people we serve.
That’s just one example. We are in a transformative moment in the healthcare marketplace. So much is happening and BioIQ is at the center of the revolution and evolution. Consider how care is being unbundled, creating novel access points for consumers, especially in retail settings. Analysts and industry experts look for companies leading the way in those areas, and that’s where BioIQ is and what we are doing. Our retail-based programs and partnerships with industry leaders like Walmart are helping to take healthcare to the next level, one that focuses on consumers while recognizing what payers want and need.
You have been in the healthcare industry working in technology for more than 25 years. Of all the changes you’ve seen, whether technology-focused or not, what is the most surprising to you?
Honestly, what is old is new. If you look at how healthcare organizations were using Social Determinants of Health (SDoH), 20 years ago, we leveraged similar approaches but called it geocoding and cluster segmentation. Today, it’s all the same concept, but the technology has improved. Additionally, I think there’s greater understanding of how important it is to recognize SDoH and find ways to overcome the obstacles it presents.
I will say that the technology we have today is so much better and so much more exciting in terms of its capabilities to identify SDOH. For example, one way that technology has drastically changed is hardware advancements. It makes global connectivity and high-speed analytics truly a game-changer.
You are one of the few women leaders in healthcare technology – although that is starting to change. What drew you to this field? Do you have any advice for women entering a STEM career?
I started programming at a young age. I was always fascinated by technology and good at math, which gave me an aptitude for technology. When I was in college, I was fortunate to get a job in a hospital on second shift in the technology department. That gave me time to explore, learn and try things out. Those early experiences helped me learn and focus on what matters in healthcare, and it has made me truly love this industry.
For young women considering a STEM career, I would say don’t be afraid of the science or math – embrace it. As women we have so much to bring to the field of technology and healthcare so take the courses, do the work and find your place in this great industry.
What is the biggest challenge facing BioIQ today and what can every team member– no matter their role or department – do to help meet that challenge?
Our biggest challenge is time – things move so quickly. There is a lot of pressure to do more and do it faster, while still delivering quality. That’s another reason I’m glad to work with such a great team. Everyone is up to the opportunities and challenges!
Technology will continue to rapidly evolve. Our clients will continue to rely on us to ensure we provide them with the best solutions. Being ready to adapt to change continuously is something we all need to embrace. We need to continue to move at a fast pace to address the needs of everyone in the market in the marketplace. This will require focus from every employee in each department and a true team effort – and I know we can do it.
What’s the single best piece of advice you were ever given and how has it helped you in your career?
I don’t know that there is one single piece of advice, but one I abide by is to keep it simple – don’t over-engineer a solution; buy commodities, build uniqueness and always focus on the people who are using and benefiting from your technology.
What do you like to do when you aren’t at work? Are you involved in any special causes or organizations?
I am on the board of Special Olympics Georgia which is truly a great cause. Also, I am an avid tennis player and play in a variety of leagues in Atlanta. It is great to get out on the weekend and play sports. It clears your head.