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July 15, 2022 . Sandy Bielawa

We are Ursa Health: meet Dan Rosen

Ursa Health Blog

Visit Ursa Health's blog to gain healthcare data analytics insights or to get to know us a little better. Read more ...

What’s your role at Ursa Health, and what do you do?

I’m vice president of customer success, responsible for leading our technical customer success managers, technical services team, and knowledge/training team. Our job is to help customers get the most out of Ursa Studio’s technology and content so they can successfully improve the quality of care while lowering the cost of care.

Can you share a little about your background?

I studied political science in undergrad at Washington University in St. Louis, then spent about five years working in education. I taught English abroad, then came back to the United States to work with middle and high school youth in Boston for an education nonprofit. Afterward, I began working with early-stage social enterprises, both in an incubator at the Harvard Kennedy School and also in the field back in Ecuador, where I had previously taught English. This experience sparked my interest in business school so I could go deeper into entrepreneurship and a field I was increasingly passionate about, health tech.

At the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, I led a student-run investment fund, called the Social Venture Fund, that focused on impact investing. We made small investments in health, ed, and clean tech. I worked closely with the founders of early-stage companies who were navigating how to build high-impact products and businesses. I also was a founder Michigan Ross's first “big data” course. We worked with a statistics professor to gain hands-on experience with SQL, R, and Tableau and explored the intersection of business and analytics, which eight or nine years ago felt very cutting edge. Joining athenahealth after graduate school was the direct result of this work, focusing my attention on how to leverage data to drive healthcare improvement. I chose athena because I wanted to go to a bigger company to gain exposure to some of healthcare’s largest and most innovative clients.

At athenahealth, I spent eight years along two intersecting lines of work: how to produce healthcare analytics and how to leverage healthcare analytics across the enterprise for driving population, clinical, and operational improvement. My first role, however, was a one-year detour to learn the guts of the company’s product, technology, and operations, operating as part of an elite team of problem solvers to deal with the most urgent and complex issues of the company’s biggest clients. From there, I worked with ACOs/CINs that used athena’s population health product as well as physician groups that used the company’s EMR and practice management software. The questions these clients were asking all had to do with how to leverage data to impact healthcare delivery — high-level questions such as “What are my population health opportunities?” “Which patients should be engaged, and for what?” “What should providers and the care team do to intervene with the patient?” All good questions, and I was able to lead data analysts to produce these insights.

However, what clients really needed was much broader. At most clients, the initial audience is the client executive and clinical and business leaders. As those executives engage their clinical and operational directors to execute delivery changes, the audience — and thus their analytics need — changes significantly. Those individuals need to quickly understand where to focus, how best to manage change, and whether their changes were successful. And finally, physicians and their staff have yet another set of analytics needs focused on trust, options, recommendations — you get the idea. The point is, the successful clients were thinking holistically about their entire organization using the same data on the same initiatives, just geared to their roles in the care delivery process.

This obviously set the stage for developing healthcare analytics and dealing with the same challenges that drove the formation of Ursa Health. Producing healthcare analytics along the lines of what I just described is equal parts art and science, and there is absolutely a right way to do it. At athena, I worked with data architects to design and build portions of the company’s data model. We used many of the same healthcare and data architecture concepts as Ursa uses, but we made 1/1000th of the progress with ten times the effort. I also helped our clients leverage these data assets and worked with the full analytics tech stack of our clients: the data engineering teams, the burgeoning analytics engineering teams, the data analysts, and the business analysts. I helped those teams operate a bit more in unison, leveraging their strengths.

Those two sides of my experience at athena really helped me learn the hard way what data and analytics need to be and how they need to be used. So by the time I met Robin [Clarke, Ursa Health’s CEO], I had this fully formed perspective in my head of what success looks like. I just hadn't found anyone in health IT that could make producing and using healthcare data successful and scalable the way Ursa has. And that's why the decision to come here was fast and easy.

That makes complete sense. Anything else factor into your decision to join Ursa Health?

I like the journey that Ursa has been on, starting at UCLA Health, developing the software and product content over time, and evolving into a high-performing SaaS, allowing even more healthcare organizations to produce and use analytics successfully. There is no playbook for how to do something novel — you have to experiment and define it as you go. I love the fact that some lessons were learned the hard way, and the founders are open about sharing those lessons as well as celebrating when things click. To me, the fact that Ursa is asking questions and adjusting along the way checked a box. It was good validation of the people here and their ability to adapt quickly to what will continue to be evolving customer needs.

You’re just a few weeks in at this point. Any big aha’s?

Let me talk about the technology for a second. It's incredible. I still never think any technology is a panacea, because it's only as good as how you use it, but Ursa Studio’s potential is exponential. I had those feelings before I joined, but since I’ve gotten into the weeds with the platform and seen how customers are utilizing it, I just think it's incredible.

I also see the opportunity for Ursa to bring tremendous expertise to our customers in terms of how they can produce and use data to achieve their goals. What we’re creating here is powerful healthcare content, paired with amazing technology and a methodology for successfully producing and using data. There's a different way to do data and analytics — a way that's a lot more impactful and fun.

The other thing that was not really surprising but fascinating is that we have some really compelling customers. They're all doing similar work around value-based care and care delivery, but they're innovators. I'm excited that Ursa is synthesizing a pattern for what the leaders in healthcare are doing and helping accelerate that work.

What is the one thing people are surprised to learn about you?

My family and I live in a small town in rural New Hampshire, in the foothills of the White Mountains. It is close to where my wife grew up and feels a lot like summer camp. Having lived in and near cities my whole life, this is easy and great access to hiking, biking, and more. We have two boys, ages three and six, who spend a lot of time outdoors running wild.

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