Saier Zeng wanted to establish her career at the intersection of business and technology. Upon completing her graduate studies in health informatics at Weill Cornell Medicine, she did just that.
Saier is a senior associate at Grant Thornton LLP, a leading independent audit, tax and advisory firm. Part of the digital transformation and management practice, she works with healthcare organizations on robotic process automation implementation and enterprise data management and analytics platforms.
Saier’s interest in healthcare information systems and data analytics grew out of her experience working at a boutique consulting firm where she specialized in revenue cycle improvement projects in the healthcare sector. Engaging with a wide range of patient data that each relied on a different electronic system, Saier recognized an abundance of improvement opportunities. “The systems all shared a common set of data, but they didn’t communicate with each other,” she explained. “I wondered what we could learn if we can aggregate the data and how it can be utilized to the benefit of society.” This desire to develop a more innovative healthcare system prompted Saier to apply to the Master of Science in Healthcare Policy and Research program. Over the span of a year, she enrolled in courses that gave her insight into the complexity and nuances of healthcare delivery. “We took a field trip to a hospital and observed how electronic data systems were being used,” she recounted. “By being in the physical environment, we can better understand what goes on between the patient and the physician during a visit and how that could impact the downstream quality and efficiency in care.” The program also laid the foundation for natural language processing, data mining, international information standards, and research methodology. “This program gave me a holistic perspective on healthcare,” she added.
For prospective students, Saier offers the following advice: “Go in with an open mind and make yourself available. This is a very well-rounded program – you can audit classes from different tracks, and the capstone project gives you the freedom to do what interests you. Really absorb everything and make meaningful connections with the faculty. There’s always so much going on.”