With 11 deployments under her belt, brand new VP of Data Fiona McPherson Grant knows a thing or two about health tech data integrations. She shares unique insights gleaned getting her hands dirty merging legacy data systems, bringing clinicians, analysts and patients alike on board, and what to look for when choosing a tech partner.

I just love data.

It gets me out of bed in the morning. That and an ice swim at my local lake in Grand Rapids. Your data is unique to your organization and it holds the answers to your most pressing questions. It’s like the oil in a machine, when it’s flowing seamlessly, the machine can operate at peak performance. When your team understands how to talk about it, and how it moves through a system, then you know you’re getting the most valuable insights possible that are unique to your organization. It also represents the streamlining of human effort. What’s not to love?!

Doctors are data factories

Think about a cardiac surgeon performing a lifesaving procedure. That’s an incredibly valuable act – prolonging or saving someone’s life. Now take all the data they’re creating along every step of the process. That can be extrapolated far beyond one procedure on a single patient. That data can be collected and used to predict patient outcomes, for research, cost savings, time savings for clinicians, potentially monetized. The value add of collecting and connecting data is exponential

I learned a thing or two deploying 11 health data integrations

First, get everybody on the same page upfront. Establish a common language that will become a shorthand to simplify complicated concepts. There is learning in the doing, but train your team upfront. Post go-live you’ll have an experienced, certified team to take you forward. Communicate a vision of the future and build a unified mindset of what is being done, how and why. It’s a lifesaver.

This is career-defining stuff

People are staking their reputations on choosing your product. They want to trust that you’ll deliver what you’ve promised on time, that your company will go the distance, and that their team will be able to use this new tool easily. I would only ever partner with experienced health-tech specialists.

Employ different types of thinkers

You need people from all disciplines to solve problems collectively. Art students, engineers, mathematicians, not just IT nerds like me. Hire visionaries and doers. Culture, education experience and alignment. All of those pieces need to be in place.

A great customer portal is key

Seeking healthcare is stressful, its often it’s the worst or best day of their lives, and the last thing they want is to be figuring out how to use some stupid app or website. It needs to be simple, fast and available to all.

Clinicians are a key part of your IT solution

If they’re not on board, it doesn’t matter which platform you’ve chosen or how beautiful it is under the hood, if it makes their job even a fraction harder it has failed.

Address the ‘so what’ moment

Show your clinical team what happens with all this beautiful data you’re collecting, because they often don’t see it. Show them why it’s valuable, and how it will be used to make their lives easier, get better outcomes for their patients, and find efficiencies for their organizations. Everybody wins!

Data vs Gut

Often clinicians have to make big decisions based on intuition alone, which can be really stressful. In our health system, once we’d deployed a health platform you would see the tide turn where they’d start trusting it more. They’d let it do the heavy lifting on sorting and prioritizing patients, then they could have that assurance to trust their gut when making subsequent decisions.

Working for a New Zealand-owned company

It’s awesome! Although I’ve been in the States for over 20 years, I’m a Kiwi. As a country on the global stage we’re not super well known for our tech expertise, but that’s changing. We are known for our resourcefulness and innovation, and for coming together to solve problems – a necessity when you’re hanging out at the bottom of the world. We take our work seriously – as the little guy you always feel you’ve got a lot to prove – but we also like to keep it chill. Most people don’t even realise that Orion Health is a New Zealand-owned company. I definitely want that to change!