Each month in our Q&A blog series, we get to know the visionary men and women leading BioIQ and changing the healthcare industry. This month we’ll get to know what makes Chief Operating Officer Pete Desai tick. Below, Pete explains what attracted him to BioIQ over three years ago, what gets him excited about his role and more.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and what brought you to BioIQ.
A: I grew up in West Point, Mississippi, and went to school in Nashville, Tennessee. My family owned a small business and that really shaped who I am today. As a child, we lived at our small business, which allowed my parents to take advantage of cheap (free) labor. I was forced to learn basic business principles early on – from sales and operations to financial management. Those skills have benefited me throughout my career and I expect they’ll continue to be helpful to me (and my kids) in the future.
In terms of what brought me to BioIQ, I had known about BioIQ for a number of years, as they provided at-home test kits to Optum, my previous employer. Having worked only at large companies the first half of my career (Accenture and Optum), I thought I’d change it up and join a company that was looking to make a lasting impact in healthcare. After meeting with a few of the executives, it was a no-brainer decision for me. BioIQ was open to change and willing to take risks as a business. In addition, I’d have the opportunity to build a team and deliver on high-priority projects. It’s rare in today’s day and age to buy the ingredients and bake the cake, given the specialization of skills and companies.
Healthcare has become too complex and technology is one of the few levers that can help bring back simplicity.
Q: Has your perspective on the healthcare technology industry changed over your career?
A: My perspective has been fairly consistent since joining Accenture, and it’s based on the fact that healthcare has become too complex (our own doing) and technology is one of the few levers that can help bring back simplicity. Healthcare is way behind financial services, travel, hospitality and manufacturing industries in terms of technology adoption, but there are a lot of great companies (BioIQ included) that are looking to make a change. That said, the key challenge will be making sure these technologies solve problems and communicate effectively with each other, v.s. creating yet another silo of solutions.
Q: You were named COO in 2017 after holding other positions within the company. What have your top priorities been?
A: I had the advantage of working cross-functionally at BioIQ prior to being named COO, so I had a unique perspective coming into the role. The top priorities for me were (and still are) focused on simplifying complex issues and finding creative ways to execute solutions. Too often, solutions are over-engineered and the focus on simplicity is often overlooked. In addition, supporting our Growth team is what keeps me and my team going — and anything operations can do to support a new customer acquisition becomes a priority. Lastly, but most importantly, people development has always been a top priority, as a quarterback without a team is useless.
I love the people at BioIQ — t’s the number one work element that keeps me going.
Q: What gets you excited about coming to work every day?
A: The employees. I love the people at BioIQ and it’s the number one work element that keeps me going. In addition, the impact we make on the members we touch brings it all home for me.
Q: Have you had any great mentors throughout your career?
A: I’ve been fortunate to have several mentors in my career, across various industries and disciplines. However, the greatest influence has been from my family – primarily my parents. I was fortunate to learn basic business principles from focusing on customers, making every interaction memorable and treating employees with respect. To me, these traits have been the most impactful and they continue to benefit me today.
Q: When you take a day off how do you like to spend it?
A: Taking a day off in today’s world is quite difficult, given the various gadgets we all carry with us. However, I do make it a priority to unplug from time to time, literally. Spending time with my family is my number one priority and that can come in the form of doing yard work together, playing table tennis, or playing a competitive game of Monopoly. I stay quite involved in my kids’ extracurricular activities, which allows me to see the world through their eyes. At some point when the kids are older, I imagine they won’t think I’m cool enough anymore, so I take advantage of every opportunity I get to connect with them.
Thanks, Pete! Be sure to check back next month to get to know another BioIQ leader. In the meantime, watch this brief video of Pete explaining BioIQ’s game-changing gap closure solution for health plans.