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November 5, 2020 . Sandy Cummings

We are Ursa Health: meet Mary Lou Tays

Blog 2020

Looking for market insights? Interested in our latest product news & tips? Wanting to get to know Ursa a little better? Read more...

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

I’m the director of integration here, which means that I am involved with customer implementations. I have the broadest role in terms of the ingestion of our customers’ data into the Ursa Studio platform, which includes defining the data types that will be involved and the corresponding requirements.

What are some of the challenges in that process?

Some of the challenges that I’ve experienced in the past are the time that it takes to upload and configure large data sets, and then the need to train various people within the organization to develop their expertise in specific data sets. What I have found since coming here is that Ursa Studio is very intuitive. It guides you through the process so you don’t need as much expertise. It also reduces the timeline for the end-to-end ETL (extract, transform, load) process that gets the data in an operational data store-type format so it’s ready to be used for analytics and reporting.

Can you share a little about your background?

Actually, I started out in marketing. I really did not have a flair for analysis and data at the beginning, but through my first job right out of college, that quickly changed. It was a very small company that was still building its technical stack. I was hired into an account manager role, which meant I would be working with our clients.

Turns out that the account manager role ended up having a lot to do with being a technical liaison, gathering requirements and troubleshooting the equipment our clients were using. That got me more into the details of database design. Then I was kind of pulled by the hair of my head over to the technical side of the house because they had gaps that they wanted to fill there. And I never looked back. I really developed a love for that work, as it appealed to my overall sense of curiosity and my strong will to problem solve. Those elements of the work have kept me happy all these years.

I’ve been in healthcare since 2007. I got into this field through a contact, and at the same time healthcare had become very personal to me because I have a loved one who had developed a chronic condition. This is something so important—it impacts all of these families across the United States and elsewhere—to find things that make the whole adventure for people who have these illnesses better. So I really want to stay with this type of work.

Any advice for people who are getting started in this area?

Ask about a company’s training program. It’s always good to have as much training material as you possibly can ready for all the types of roles in the organization that you’re going to bring people into. Ursa Health has done a very good job with Ursa University. It’s rare in the healthcare industry to see something so well documented from an IT perspective. Most companies have the standard onboarding materials, but for the IT organization to have something so organized, clear, and concise ready on day one is absolutely phenomenal.

That’s the key: Without that documented, you’re going to have to spend a great deal of time one on one with people you’re hiring, and sometimes that can get very complicated when you’re bringing on more than one person at a time. If you have to very quickly staff up a team, with five or six people, for example, you may have to onboard classroom style, which I’ve had to do.

Beyond that, you always have to be engaged with your team and share as much information with them as possible rather than hoard it up and just be a consolidated subject matter expert. That can get you into trouble. So that’s something to ask about during the hiring process as well.

Why did you decide to work for Ursa Health?

I wanted to migrate back to a smaller organization that was focused on problem solving in the medical field. I was at a very large corporation where I felt things moved slowly when it came to figuring out where they wanted to go and how they are trying to improve healthcare. I wanted to get back to that rapid problem-solving environment because that’s where my passion lies.

What do you find to be the best part about working with Ursa Health?

The best part is the culture and the opportunity that I have received to enhance my expertise and my knowledge from the absolutely brilliant people that compose this team. That’s been very exciting to me.

This is the first fully remote experience I’ve had. I miss some of the social interaction aspects of going into the office on a day-to-day basis—you know, like coffee-room talk or whatever. However, I think this company does a very good job of staying connected.

What is the one thing your colleagues would be surprised to know about you?

That I’m klutzy. I’m always falling, getting injured, getting broken bones, and everything—you name it!

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