2020/09 6 min read
What brought you to Syapse?
After graduating with my BS in biomedical sciences I contemplated going to dental school. After receiving my competitive Dental Aptitude Test (DAT) scores, I realized that I wanted a different path. I enrolled in graduate school to pursue bioinformatics. I still wanted to be in healthcare, do something impactful, and help patients without being a physician or nurse. I was introduced to the cancer registry and quickly learned that could leverage my education in healthcare. It just made sense!
I’ve been in the cancer registry for over 10 years, which still amazes me. Before joining Syapse I was Project Coordinator of Oncology Services at a large community hospital and worked with several of the hospitals in the system. This included collaborating across the hospitals with physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, and administrators. It was empowering as I was able to build relationships and align informatics with healthcare while assisting with quality improvement, concordance studies, and developing cancer survivorship care plans. I really enjoyed what I was doing, but as a first-time mom, I was looking for something that allowed me to continue serving oncology patients and the community while balancing the responsibilities of the newest addition to my family. I received a phone call from the program director who I had partnered within the national organization NCRA on the informatics committee. She said that she was at a company and starting up a manual abstraction team and believed I would be a great fit for the team. She had three amazing and talented CTRs (Certified Tumor Registrars) already, and I would bring the informatics piece to round out the team. I had never heard of Syapse before speaking with her, but after talking with her and Grant I felt this would be a great company to work for that would also afford upward career mobility. Of course, I did my own research and after reading about the company, I knew the mission of Syapse aligned with what I wanted to do. It was a chance to expand and grow on a different path as a CTR and as an informatics professional. It just made sense.
How do you describe your job to your relatives?
As a CTR, we are the ones exploring and filling in the gaps of the data that tells the story of a cancer patient’s journey. We are the ones who help solve puzzles. We are detectives in that we do our best to make sure we left no stone unturned, no page in the chart unchecked, to ensure that we have accurately captured the data that is needed. This data is crucial to oncology clinicians and oncology researchers in determining the best treatment options for long term survival.
I contribute to the manual abstraction team by leading the configuration and data ingestion within the abstraction software. I have the opportunity to collaborate with different experts within Syapse including customer success, product management, epidemiology, informatics, analytics, and much more. We all collaborate to make sure that we have high accuracy, high-quality data, to ultimately make sure that our data can help deliver real-world evidence to our collaborative partners and ultimately to cancer patients.
What inspires you day-to-day?
What inspires me to get up every morning and feel good about what I’m doing is that our data is utilized real-time. Typically, in the hospital setting, cancer registry data is not used to make real-time decisions about care. At Syapse, manually abstracted data is integrated with other data sources almost immediately and provides huge value for the stakeholders that rely on the data. One benefit is recently having the opportunity to be part of the team working with the life sciences, and how appreciative they are of this high-quality data. Most importantly we’re [CTRs] treated as professionals. That’s a breath of fresh air and inspires me to work hard every day with a smile on my face.
What has surprised you most since joining Syapse?
The family atmosphere. It feels like everybody is genuinely nice and wants the best outcomes for the teams. Not only for what drives revenue, which is the business, but also for you as an individual. We always have to adapt to new things that are part of real-world data. It feels like the need for change, and the need for us to adapt is daily. That could be due to the COVID pandemic, but I think that’s really the awesome part because everybody knows we have to adapt and so we’re always willing to do that. For lack of a better phrase, we push the envelope. Everybody does. We’re always trying to think outside the box and what can we do better and that is the culture of the organization, we are encouraged to do that. Lastly, when I graduated for my second Master’s degree in Healthcare Management and Informatics, guess who flew to Atlanta for my graduation? It was none other than my then supervisor, that’s caring at the highest!
What are you most excited about in the upcoming year?
I’m going to have a two-year-old at the end of the year! It’s been amazing working for a company that embraces family and embraces her — from the onesie I received to colleagues greeting her on those rare occasions she makes a virtual appearance. As far as Syapse, I’m excited to solve healthcare’s most pressing challenges and take advantage of opportunities to be collaborative, innovative, and strategic to do so. Manual abstraction is an integral part of Syapse’s high-quality data. More requests for our work are coming and already have come; including new use cases. Also, thinking ahead, we can continue to enhance our position in the market by integrating our data with structured data upfront so we can be true curators of high output and high-quality data.
If you could become an expert in anything instantly, what would it be and why?
A stockbroker because I want to make sure that I can leave a strong financial legacy.
Is there anything new that you are learning right now?
I am learning to be a more effective strategic leader. I’ve also been getting back into my artistic side so I’ve gotten back into my drawings and music as a way to continue to stimulate my right brain and relax.
COVID aside, if you travel anywhere, where would you go and why?
The most logical choice is taking a family trip to Barbados, because that is where my husband is from, and that’s where his parents still live. I enjoyed it when I went years ago and would love to take our daughter there. I would love to go back to Oslo, Norway as it is one of my favorite places.
If you could switch roles at Syapse for a day, what other job would you like to try?
Hmmm. Either one of the Senior VPs or an engineer.