Inside with SVP Diane Kaye – Problem-Solving with Our Clients
A problem-solver at heart, Diane Kaye has always been intrigued by the complexity and inflexibility of our healthcare system. With more than 25 years working in the industry, Diane joined the Candescent Health team as Senior Vice President of Client Services to bring her talents to field of radiology. Diane leads our client services team to ensure flawless implementation and optimization of our clients’ performance. In this blog interview, Diane shares her most memorable career moments, why she decided to join the Candescent Health team and advice for women kicking off a career in healthcare.
You’ve been working in the healthcare industry for 25+ years. What sparked your interest in the industry? What would you say is the biggest change in healthcare since you started?
I was an economics major in college and then received a Master’s in public policy so I was always interested in the intersection of microeconomics and public policy. What interested me most about healthcare was how screwed up the system was. For someone interested in microeconomics and challenging problems with a public orientation, there was no better industry to work in.
In my mind, the biggest challenge in healthcare is that payment of the bulk of healthcare services continues to be on a fee-for-service basis. This creates all the wrong incentives. In addition, providers largely have old, inflexible technology that does not enable them to have the right information at the right time or the ability to access a patient’s record across the system. It’s hard to change the former given the lack of the latter.
You’ve spent the majority of your career in Boston. What is it about this city that made you want to build your life and career here?
Boston is great…and very accessible. That works well for us since my extended family is in the Northeast. It’s also nice that there are many great companies here with an impressive employee and talent base.
You’ve worked for some highly respected healthcare companies, from payer giant Blue Cross Blue Shield to athenahealth during its start-up years. Most memorable moment(s) of your career?
Both companies were really good experiences but for very different reasons. I’d have to say working at athenahealth for ten years—beginning at near-inception of the company—was most memorable by far. It’s hard to narrow down the most memorable moments there, but one of the most interesting things was being part of, and witnessing, its tremendous growth. We had to deal with significant growth on all dimensions, which meant we were always encountering new issues and new areas that had not been tackled before. We just had to dig in and think fast. We also had to grow fast as professionals since athenahealth was very centered on its culture and leaders’ growth. Your impact as a leader was important so they invested in leadership development, and made it a requirement that you personally grow as a leader. Both growth-related issues in some ways set the course for my career.
Before joining Candescent Health, you started your own consulting firm and served a number of A-list high-growth clients. What made you want to shift gears and join this team?
Since leaving athenahealth, I have worked both as an employee and as a consultant for many great companies. Both consulting and employment have their advantages and disadvantages, personally and professionally.
I joined Candescent Health for a number of reasons. In addition to the product and value proposition resonating with me, the team is truly gifted and incredibly nice to work with. Our ability to get a lot of the right things done incredibly quickly is motivating. And finally, it has been a while since I have played a large operating role—and at the end of the day, I’m really a builder—so this was an opportunity to build things I have seen before as well as things I have not.
What is a “day in the life” of a SVP of Client Services at Candescent Health? Best part?
A bit crazy and varied! For example, since we are now nearing our “go live” with the Imaging Institute at the Cleveland Clinic much of my day is filled with working with teams across the company, and with the client, to ensure such a large enterprise implementation is complete and we’re all ready to roll.
Other parts of my day are filled with infrastructure building and related conversations. For example, we are implementing new systems and processes for our front line teams to enable them to support more case volume effectively, efficiently and in a scalable way.
There are also lots of discussions during the day around prospects, growth, product and strategic direction.
Being a morning person and getting up super early before most of the world helps as I crank through my to-do list. For me, this is nice “alone” time.
You have 20 years of experience as a female executive in healthcare IT. What advice would you give women beginning their career in this space? Best advice you’ve received throughout your career?
That’s a great question. I wish I could say it’s easy, but it just isn’t. If you are someone who wants to have a significant career and be the proverbial soccer mom (okay maybe almost the proverbial soccer mom, perhaps, one who wants to be at every weekend game, but not at every carpool and practice!), you have to know that it will be very challenging. But with challenge, comes incredible reward. Part of my advice is that I believe it’s extremely important to work in environments that have value systems that match your own. You want to be in environments where others are also making important personal and work choices all of the time – and at Candescent, it is all of the time. My other piece of advice for women who want to have that type of balance is to think about changing the “status quo” in terms of work and business norms. Norms around work days, when and where work gets done, what we mean by face time – all of it should be challenged by women (and men) seeking to work hard and be very present in their families’ lives.
Throughout my career I’ve actually received fairly limited career advice. I didn’t set out in any particular direction, really. I was always motivated, always liked being challenged, always wanted to grow and sort of “followed by nose.” However, the best advice I’ve received over the years was really more about leadership. Good leadership requires authenticity. You need to be comfortable with yourself and be real; you need to be very conscious and purposeful.
You’ve served in many different roles (i.e. strategic development, product management, operations, revenue officer and now head of client services at Candescent Health). How do they compare?
All of my positions have been interesting and all have had challenges. Fundamentally, they are all about problem solving—or defining the problem, coming up with solutions, then delivering, implementing, communicating or selling those solutions and iterating. By having had so many roles, I’ve also learned that no one job is easy and another hard. No one discipline makes or breaks a company. Effective execution within, and collaboration across, disciplines is the key.