Quest Diagnostics' CIO Drives Business Value
Lidia Fonseca, CIO of Quest Diagnostics, is responsible for many of the client-facing systems, connectivity products, and analytics and informatics solutions.
Another facet is partnering with big hospital health systems and other risk-bearing entities in various business combinations. In many cases, hospitals need us to conduct advanced tests that require special technology and expertise. They leverage our technology through connectivity, our test directory, and our analytics and reporting capabilities to help them deliver appropriate, cost-effective testing.
The third strategy is offering broad access to diagnostic innovation, such as in our partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering and IBM. We help oncologists identify potential treatments and clinical trials for patients based on sequencing of a tumor's genomic profile.
Another example is bioinformatics—the intersection of molecular biology, software engineering and informatics. The pattern is first to capture information—such as sequencing the genome or identifying a patient's condition or stage of a disease—then use the bioinformatics and clinical annotations to help physicians decide the best steps to take in patient care.
The fourth area in our growth strategy is to be recognized as a consumer-friendly provider of diagnostic information services. Consumers are becoming more actively involved in managing their health, and some states now allow patient-initiated testing.
We currently have four million consumers interacting with us through the MyQuest application portal and mobile app to access results online, make appointments, pay bills, access a historical report of all their encounters with Quest, and engage in patient-initiated testing. We’re also working with consumer-focused companies, such as Ancestry, to be their behind-the-scenes provider of testing.
We also work with franchise partners and external innovative companies to design products and services that help organizations maximize insights from lab and other health data. For example, we offer Quanum Data Diagnostics, an analytics solution, jointly with Inovalon. Doctors can access real-time analysis that shows things such as gaps in care relative to performance measures and how to align coding the patient's care with value-based models on which reimbursement is increasingly based.
Because of Quest's IT connectivity with nearly 600 electronic health records platforms, physicians can likely access the solution in their existing EHR platforms and workflows—a huge advantage. Another example is Quanum Population Health, which gives a large client the ability to benchmark the performance of their sites, as well as the individual providers. Other services include integrating the payer's preauthorization guidelines at the point of ordering to ensure that testing is in line with clinical guidelines and medical necessity. We will continue to provide the analytics that incorporate decision support in the areas of clinical, operations, and reimbursement.
High: How do you think about talent management from an IT perspective?
Fonseca: When we launched our Quest Quanum portfolio, we considered all our offerings as being in one of three buckets. One, helping customers analyze information. Two, helping our clients (patients, providers, health systems, payers) interact and connect with us. And three, engagement, which differs depending on whether we’re presenting information to patients, a payer, a hospital or health system.
Looking at these buckets aligns the talent we are looking for. Roles in analytics—such as data storage, data scientists and data architects—have expanded, but also narrowed as we look for more specialized expertise.
We also develop software flexible enough to be applied across different channels. Through interacting with customers, we realize that what people do on their tablet differs from what they do on their mobile device or laptop.
The developers and architects we hire take a more agile approach and are comfortable with not knowing all the requirements from the get-go. But they can put an experience in front of a client, user, consumer or provider, get feedback, and then iterate that design or experience. That talent base has evolved as we realized what the user is actually doing with us.
Another area that continues to develop is security. The developers not only conduct unit testing, but also use new technologies that enable them to do some security testing up front. When we look for talent, we look for developers who have a mindset to develop and test the code before they hand it down the software lifecycle development process.