We recently sat down with Interop Hero, Susan Clark, Health Information Technology Consultant (and health IT rockstar) at Briljent.
Susan has an impressive portfolio of experience that dates back to a job search during college. She started working at the front desk of a healthcare organization (a position that is now called Patient Access), and has been in the healthcare industry in some capacity ever since. In that first role, Susan gained an in-depth understanding of patients, providers, and the flow of the clinic — including the pains people go through when the processes don’t work. For example, she would drop a lab order in the lab basket (back when everything was paper), then would receive a call saying the patient is there, but their lab order is not. “It would just be infuriating,” she said.
“I have been trying to get information connected to where it needed to be for 30 years…That’s truly why I do this everyday because I know it’s not solved, and I want it to reduce burden on the clinical staff, the patients, and everyone involved.”
Susan’s experience includes many different components of healthcare, like care delivery, managed care, student health, IT, and more. Her complex background and well-rounded perspective are what make her such a force in the interoperability space.
Susan shared how she pulls together all of the components of her experience in her day-to-day life. She shared that she is grateful that each day brings something different and that she gets to explore new opportunities as projects come her way. This year, she’s been focused on strategic planning around initiatives like state data and federal scientific advancements.
Susan enjoys leading the order of operations – breaking down what needs to be done. She also works a lot with policy, where she translates new policy details back to state Medicaid. When a lengthy rule comes out, Susan is the one who tells the state which information is important to understand and pay attention to. Through this work, she helps the health IT community stay ahead of the game so they can plan accordingly for funding and resourcing.
On top of all that, she also volunteers for her state Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), as well as the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). She’s currently the chair of the AHIMA Advocacy and Policy Council, which she really loves. In this role, she’s learned how to influence and advocate to legislatures around health IT needs.
Susan’s plans for the future include focusing on data governance. As technology advances and we use data even more, the need for governance will become an important piece of the puzzle. Organizations will need to know where their information is going, who owns it and what consent looks like. Specifically, she’s looking forward to improving patient matching, data segmentation, and educating on the capabilities of interoperability.
Plus, she plans to do more volunteer work with community-based organizations to further their health IT capabilities while sharing her wealth of knowledge and expertise.
With a nickname like “health IT rockstar,” we had to dive deeper into that identify and how Susan has embraced it. She said she hopes it will give her more opportunities to connect people and open new doors all in the name of furthering interoperability. It’s inspiring to hear how Susan has been able to leverage this name and elevate connections in the health IT community.
In closing, Susan offered some words of wisdom: to believe in yourself and celebrate your accomplishments — especially when you may doubt your credibility. On that same note, she said to invite yourself to conversations you want to be a part of.
“I’m not afraid anymore…If I know there is a meeting or an initiative…that I think I can contribute to, and they didn’t think to ask me, I’ll invite myself.”
Additionally, she encourages everyone to have a good walk-up song. Listen to something that gets you fired up before walking into a room or giving a presentation. We left our interview feeling inspired and energized about the work Susan is doing and her words of empowerment for those in the health IT space.
Thank you to Susan Clark of Briljent for sharing your experience and perspective with us!
This post was contributed by Alyssa Foggia-Hamm.