Meet the Founder: An Interview with Shawn Frasier
Updated: Nov 23, 2022
Shawn Frasier is the founder of Pinnacle Health Informatics and has been in the behavioral health field since 1998. He enjoys helping organizations unlock their data and better serve their patients. In his free time, he likes being active, traveling, learning new things, being with his family, and meeting new people.
I sat down with Shawn to learn more about his work in the behavioral health sector and what he’s discovered in his 20+ years in the industry.
When did you start Pinnacle Health Informatics?
Pinnacle started in 2009, but I was involved in many behavioral health initiatives prior to that, including running some multi-agency consortiums in the ‘00s. Since the beginning, I’ve worked a lot in the technology and infrastructure side of behavioral health. I quickly realized that the data that the various organizations were collecting was where the real payoff for long months of implementation came from. That is where the future seemed to be, so I quickly realized that helping people get to their data would be a great opportunity.
Then with the electronification of medical records, the amount of data that healthcare organizations were collecting was growing exponentially. We worked with many behavioral health agencies and decided around 2008/2009 to form Pinnacle and focus more exclusively on data and analytics because there was just such a great need for it.
From there, we just found so many areas of interest, and we decided to forge ahead. Now we work with agencies across the nation with different electronic medical records as well as with a lot of other systems, data sources, integrations and APIs.
What drew you to data visualization and analytics?
I’ve always enjoyed the efficiency and increased productivity that technology brings and have always been interested in how computers can store and organize data much more efficiently than people.
Then, when I started to work in the behavioral health sector, I realized there were oceans of data that organizations were sitting on and hardly any methods and skills to get value out of that data. With the increased emphasis on mental health, there was a lot of interest in using data to improve outcomes and make the process more efficient, so I gravitated toward that. It satisfied a lot of my curiosity about telling stories through data and information.
I’ve just always enjoyed trying to make things more understandable to people through visualizations. If you can tell a story with a visual, it’s worth not just a thousand but a million words.
Can you tell me about an interesting project you’ve worked on?
We worked with Bancroft Neurohealth in New Jersey, and they had a grand vision of really utilizing all of their data sources, not just their electronic medical record. They really saw the potential of integrating all their data into one unified data warehouse. So we brought in their electronic health data, but we also brought their HR data, timeclock data, position control data, COVID-19 testing data, as well as many other sources. It created a really powerful and holistic approach to their agency.
They know what’s going on across their entire agency in all their areas; financial, personnel, healthcare services, vaccinations, hiring, employment, and many more. It really illustrated the importance of a strong partnership between the agency and Pinnacle.
If they have a vision of where they want to go, we can help them get there. They think big and have a broad vision of where they want to go, and it’s a great synergy. It's created a system that has given them insight across their entire business. They can make better decisions, explore opportunities, note exceptions, and correct course very quickly if there is a problem.
They are a great example of embracing your data and getting the most out of it.
What has one of your biggest challenges been?
One of our biggest challenges is helping agencies see that there is a lot of value you can get out of your data beyond just the minimum needed for regulatory compliance. There is a lot of state reporting that agencies are required to do just to ensure that they keep their funding, but once they see the power of data, it really helps the overall operation of their agency.
Sometimes getting agencies past just the minimum and requesting only the minimum amount of data to comply is a challenge, but once the agencies see the true value, it’s like a lightbulb goes off. The floodgates open, and they see the power of data every day.
What is something you’ve learned during your 20+ years in business?
I’ve really learned the importance of relationships. At the end of the day, it’s really about relationships with people. Those relationships help you to understand an agency's business needs and work to make that agency successful.
I have also learned the importance of a data champion at the agency who support the data project. I can’t be the champion; it has to be someone onsite. If I can make the agency successful with data and can make the people who have championed the data project the heroes, then that is a success.
What is your favorite part about working with your clients?
Just seeing them be successful in their data projects, understanding their challenges, helping them run their businesses better, treat patients more efficiently, and be successful in their agencies.
I like to find out and show clients how much time they save using our product. We’ve seen people find the data they need, get their jobs done and get home to other things instead of spending thousands of hours hunting through data. I really enjoy being able to help our clients be successful and have fulfilling careers, all while setting up a better work-life balance. I’ve seen that with our customers because data becomes something that is a competitive advantage rather than a huge headache.
Any final thoughts?
We are successful when our customers are successful. The most important thing for us to hear is that our customers are thriving, and their data projects are making a difference in the lives of patients, clinicians, management, and beyond. For us, that success is a win.
Let us bring our near half-century of combined experience in data warehousing, reporting analytics and business intelligence for behavioral health to your organization. You deserve a reporting and business intelligence solution that's designed to support you across systems and over the long haul. Reach out to us today to learn more about our services and how we can personalize a system for you.