Leslie Selby: Frontline Listening 

Leslie Selby
Leslie Selby, VP & Sales Executive, Epic

In the olden days, when Kings wanted to know what ailed their populace, they walked among them in disguise. They listened to their struggles, hopes, and dreams. This helped them understand the demands of the citizens and form policies accordingly. On similar lines, Leslie Selby listens closely to the frontline workers in healthcare and drives change accordingly.

Leslie is a VP & Sales Executive at Epic, an organization working at the intersection of healthcare and IT to help the world get well, stay well, and help future generations be healthier.

Leslie listens to professionals in the healthcare industry from all verticals for insights that will help the organization cater to the clients better and helps the clients get the technology according to their needs.

Insights Success reached out to Leslie to listen to her two-decade journey in healthcare, what drives her, the impact she has left in the industry, and what she looks forward to next.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader to your current position at Epic. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?

My first role in healthcare, other than as a patient, was as a coordinator for a private duty home health agency. I worked with care providers and families to help patients live safely in their homes within their budgets. I was keenly aware of how critical it was for information to go between people and systems, but this was in the mid to late ‘90s. Interoperability and integration weren’t words that we used, and there was no single integrated system that could keep all the patient information together so that ED, inpatient, ambulatory, home health, and the patient could share the same information.

Today I talk with customers and prospective customers about exactly that—what’s possible, how it’s being done at leading sites, and how they can achieve their goals within their budget. As Epic has expanded, I’ve helped with many sales in new countries. The learning curve for all of us was and continues to be significant, but the challenges are mostly the same wherever we go. Organizations need integration, which means one single system wherever possible so that they can reduce their costs and take better care of patients. A big part of my role is to help them get what they already know they need.

Tell us something more about your company and its mission and vision.

Epic is a privately held healthcare software company that provides electronic medical records for large and well-respected care organizations such as Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, and Cambridge University, UK. Our focus is improving healthcare so that people can get well and stay well and future generations can be healthier. Our software helps providers save lives, improve community-wide health, and reduce healthcare costs by eliminating waste and allowing staff to work more efficiently. With broad adoption among academic medical centers and teaching hospitals, our software is instrumental in training the next generation of clinicians and helping researchers advance medical knowledge.

Enlighten us on how you have impacted healthcare through your expertise in the market.

Most of what I’ve learned about healthcare has been through the lens of the people on the front lines serving patients and the executives who support those individuals. I am certified in our ambulatory EMR, and although I haven’t led an install for many years, I greatly value the time I spent sitting shoulder to shoulder with doctors, nurses, and other staff during go-lives.

I’ve listened to many thousands of caregivers talk about their challenges, hopes, and dreams. My role is to listen, understand, and drive change. That could come in the form of enhancement ideas that I share with our developers, updates to our service methodologies, or new ways to use the system to effect change.

Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization.

Teaching the culture is a core expectation for leaders at Epic. We review key concepts regularly and post our principles and values (we call them the 10 commandments) throughout the campus. Examples include business principles such as “Do not go public” and “Do not acquire or be acquired.” We are and will remain employee-owned and privately held so that our focus remains on our software and customers rather than outside investors. Others are specific to how we work with customers, such as “Keep commitments” and “Expectations must equal reality.” Keeping promises has been a major factor in our #1 ratings in competitive comparisons by groups such as KLAS Research for many years.

In our day-to-day work, we are a flat company without overly formal management structures. Staff are on a first-name basis, and everyone at the company can go to whoever is needed to solve a problem or move an idea forward. We applaud assertiveness and effective badgering.

What, according to you, could be the next significant change in the healthcare sector? How is your company preparing to be a part of that change?

Twenty years ago, everyone was talking about the what and how in healthcare software. The industry is finally shifting in a major way toward the “why.” Organizations complete the hard work of implementing EMRs, training staff, and gathering data because that’s what is essential for the magic to happen—innovation and discoveries that improve health within communities and countries.

Cosmos, Epic’s national research repository, has the most potential to change healthcare in the coming years. Cosmos consolidates patient data from multiple Epic customers into a single repository that is accessible to researchers and other staff at organizations that contribute data. This provides a larger data pool than researchers typically have access to and allows observational studies that get new knowledge to the point of care quickly. Cosmos provides a HIPAA-defined limited data set for 150+ million patients and could grow to 200+ million as more customers join.

What Cosmos really highlights is the need for collaboration to move healthcare forward. One of my favorite quotes from Carl Dvorak, Epic’s President, is “we cannot each individually be the best at everything.” Cosmos wouldn’t be possible without multiple organizations coming together. Take a look at www.epicresearch.org to see the great work this collaborative community is doing. They are changing the world.

Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for Epic?

Wow, 20+ years feels like a long run already! I’m a big believer in accountability, and I feel that because Epic has tools and data that can revolutionize healthcare, we have a responsibility to get them to the point of care to help as many patients and providers as possible.

In the coming years, I look forward to meeting and advising healthcare leaders around the world on systems that help cure diseases faster, save peoples’ lives, and bring back joy and smiles for caregivers. As a patient and a mom, I’m excited about promoting new capabilities to help people take better care of themselves and their families.