Employee Spotlight: Eric Southern, Principal Data Engineer
by Eric Southern, Principal Data Engineer on July 19, 2021
Our mission at Protenus is to advance the science of healthcare by bringing together creative and skilled individuals who are passionate about the security, usability, and applicability of health data. As this information becomes more voluminous, comprehensive, and, as a consequence, more vulnerable, we are building scalable, insightful solutions that address critical issues preventing the efficient, safe, and effective delivery of patient care.
Our team comprises a diverse group of people who come together to achieve this shared mission. To give a glimpse into our culture and highlight the diversity of our team, we’ve asked Eric Southern, Principal Data Engineer, to share more about his experience working at Protenus.
What's your role at Protenus, and what do you do?
My role at Protenus has been multifaceted. I have worked on many of the different technology teams and supported all aspects of the organization. Primarily, I have been involved in extracting, transforming, and loading clinical and human resources data into our platform. I’ve also worked on data modeling, implementations, and now, the analytics platform itself.
As a Principal Data Engineer, it is my responsibility to ensure the data is of the highest possible quality, and that it is as complete as possible. I also work to ensure that the processes we use to transform the data are reliable and scalable. I work with customers to help them resolve technical issues with extracting their data to meet our requirements. I needed to build data models that were future-ready and scalable to massive amounts of data. Now, I work on improving the quality and performance of our analytics.
What did you do before coming to Protenus?
I worked at a multifacility hospital organization. I supported their EHR and other systems and helped develop extracts and applications that relied on the clinical data. I also worked for other organizations in the industry, helping hospitals extract data from their systems.
What initially attracted you to Protenus?
The people and technology. I was excited to join a team of very capable and focused people who wanted to leverage the latest AI technology to improve patient safety and privacy. I want to improve the solutions in healthcare, and Protenus is well equipped to bring solutions to many issues hospitals face today.
What's your favorite part of your job?
Learning new technology and working with my peers is by far the most enjoyable aspect of working at Protenus. The other engineers and staff are among the most skilled and competent people I’ve ever had the privilege to work alongside. I learn and grow with each new team and task. I also get to contribute to the team and help everyone else gain the insights provided by my own experience.
What's the most important thing you've learned since starting at Protenus?
I don’t really know where to start! I’ve picked up many awesome technologies and coding paradigms. Growing at Protenus has been a constant during my tenure. I’ve built friendships and strong relationships, and have learned a lot about my coworkers. I’ve expanded my knowledge of machine learning. I can’t really pick which is most important, but I can happily say that I’ve had considerable career growth.
How has working at Protenus impacted your career?
By far the most impactful change to my career from working at Protenus is the optimism and hope I've gained for advanced technology to be able to improve healthcare. At hospitals and other healthcare organizations, at times, I felt unfulfilled when attempting to have a larger impact on the way healthcare is delivered. I spent a lot of time helping healthcare administration report on their current state.
At Protenus, I get to work on advancing patient privacy (and therefore safety), as well as saving lives with our drug diversion solution. We get to use advanced technology to improve and optimize the delivery of care. Currently, we do that in two focused areas, but we have the opportunity and capability to expand those offerings to have a broader and more pervasive impact on improving healthcare operations and safety.
What has surprised you the most about working at Protenus?
How well a brilliant team of dedicated professionals can be brought together to solve complex problems in healthcare. The leadership team is constantly working to improve everything at Protenus and to ensure that everyone and the company are successful. The people are definitely assets to Protenus, and that is a different — and surprisingly welcome — experience from some of my previous work environments.
In 10 words or less, how would you describe the culture at Protenus?
Innovative, excellent, growth-focused, always improving, engaging, challenging, and interesting.
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