by Peter High, published on Forbes
Quest Diagnostics is a $7.5 billion provider of diagnostic testing information services. It collects vast amounts of data: twenty billion test results, one hundred fifty million medical test requisitions in 2014, and testing services that touch about one third of the adults in the US. It is up to Lidia Fonseca, Quest Diagnostics’ CIO to organize, tag, and structure the data so that the company can turn information into insights and insights into actions. By effectively categorizing and partitioning the data, the big data conundrum has turned into a massive opportunity for the company, and it has also made that data much more secure.
Fonseca’s depth of experience in data analytics, security, and developing innovations that are leading to revenue augmentation have brought her to the attention of those who need that experience at the board level. In July of 2014, she joined the board of Gannett, a $2.9 billion international media and marketing solutions company. In this interview, she discusses all the above and more, and toward the end of the interview, provides insights into how she successfully became a board-level CIO.
(To listen to an unabridged audio version of this interview, please visit this link. This is the 16th interview in the “Board-Level CIO” series. To read past interviews with CIOs from P&G, Biogen, Kroger, Cardinal Health, and the World Bank Group, among others, please visit this link. To read future articles in the series, please click the “Follow” link above.)
Peter High: I thought we would begin with your role. You are the Chief Information Officer of Quest Diagnostics. I wonder if you could provide a description of the organization as well as your role within the organization.
Lidia Fonseca: We are a leading provider of diagnostic information services. That is both clinical laboratory services as well as diagnostic information services. 2014 revenues were $7.4 Billion, and we are growing at four percent. Interestingly for us, we see about one third of US adults, and we connect with half of all physicians and hospitals in the country. We are touching the samples of five hundred thousand patients per day. We have an expansive test menu, and thousands of tests ranging from ones for cholesterol and diabetic testing, to advanced genetic, cancer, and neurology testing. We run the full gamut of medical testing.
We count on the services of forty-five thousand employees. We have about seven hundred PhDs and MDs across the company, which is great because harvesting and leveraging that knowledge is pretty significant, as we think about leveraging innovation, both on the medical side, but also on the diagnostic and data side. We operate two thousand two hundred patient service centers around the country. That is a little bit of the scale and scope of Quest.
On the data and technology front, we have the largest private clinical database. We have over twenty billion laboratory testing data points. We have more than fifty thousand providers and hospitals that are leveraging our Care360 connectivity platform. From an interaction and reach standpoint, it has been phenomenal coming here. We integrate with more than four hundred EMR providers. We are integrated with pretty much any EMR that you can think of. If our customer is using it, we are connected with them. We have a patient portal so that patients can access our services directly. We have had more than two million patients access our MyQuest patient portal. We have a significant Big Data and analytics platform that enables population health and gaps in care types of analytics. It is leveraged by partners, including the CDC and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, to name a few.
We have partnered with Inovalon, and we will talk more about that later. By bringing that together, we have a rich data backbone and dataset brought together with what Inovalon has. It is enriching what is already one of the most expansive clinical databases around.
As CIO, in addition to the typical things you would expect a CIO to be responsible for, I have a couple of other responsibilities. One of the things I am responsible for is all of our client-facing products. It is my team that develops those. We also develop the analytics products, whether it is sophisticated reporting or population health tools. Now that is in partnership with other providers as well, bringing a new capability that maybe neither of us could bring on our own. That is a key part of our thinking is that by combining datasets, can you offer something novel to the marketplace.