Emily LaFeir Fry, MHA, vice president of innovation operations at Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pennsylvania, a regional health care provider and health plan, is one of 10 up-and-coming health leaders featured in the annual Managed Healthcare Executive feature.
Emily LaFeir Fry, MHA
I grew up in suburban Detroit. I earned a BS in Health Policy and Administration and a Masters in Health Care Administration and Management, both from Pennsylvania State University.
My brothers, who are both computer engineers, taught me the power of technology. A former colleague helped teach me systems architecture and gave me the confidence to use my healthcare expertise integrated with technology.
However, I have found that the lessons I have learned on the job during my career and my innovation roles have been the most professionally impactful. The opportunity to work with a variety of leaders and be exposed to strategic decision making early in my career has been invaluable to my growth.
After starting my career as a receptionist at Beaumont Health in Troy, Michigan, I knew I wanted to pursue a long-term career in healthcare. I have surrounded myself with experts and bring value by providing an operational perspective and being a voice for clinicians.
In addition to leading my team at Geisinger, one of the most significant leadership moments of my career has been finding ways to get fresh produce to food deserts, like in convenience store markets for people. underserved. Experiences like this remind me to always give back and to have such gratitude for everything I have. It was a humbling experience.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in healthcare?
I always knew I wanted a career that allowed me to give back to my community. I love helping people and learning the science behind the human body. Understanding all aspects of health motivates me.
What professional achievement are you most proud of and why?
I am very proud to have built the Intelligent Automation Hub at the Geisinger Steele Institute for Health Innovation. Supporting Geisinger’s strategic priorities, our business architects and developers collaborate across the organization to help deliver automated solutions that create better business outcomes and an improved patient and employee experience.
Adding layers of intelligence to our processes through enhanced automation enables our people to do higher value work that makes better use of their skills. This translates into better care for our patients.
Intelligent process automation technology provides employees, including non-technical people, with the tools to configure their own software bots, chatbots and conversational AI (artificial intelligence) to solve redundant processes. By partnering with the automation team, Geisinger employees can even create their own virtual sales assistant, or “bot”, to perform tedious tasks.
It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had, but it’s the most rewarding experience. I led the creation of a whole new team and infrastructure to manage the hub. Over the past two years I have witnessed how my team is making a difference through (COVID-19) and the power of digital capabilities to improve results.
What is the hardest part of your current job?
The change management aspect is about creating meaningful change, not only through technology, but also through implementing new ways of working and training teams. Guiding change in an environment while steering the ship in the right direction is challenging yet rewarding when implemented correctly.
What is your organization doing to address equity in health care?
Geisinger has always been committed to equity in health care, but recently stepped up its efforts by hiring additional senior executives and focusing a team on several areas, including our data disparities and knowledge digital divides between our populations.
If you could change one thing about healthcare in the United States, what would it be?
If I had a magic wand, I would change our payment incentives and our healthcare funding model.
How to avoid burnout?
I prioritize family first. Putting roots in my family allows me to keep my feet on the ground. It keeps me from prioritizing work over everything else and burning out. My family and I are avid hikers and climbers; we like to be outdoors and enjoy the calm and slow pace of nature outside of our busy lives.