Maggie Bauer is Senior Vice President for Healthcare Services Operations at Creative Computing Solutions, Inc. (CCSi), where she manages engagements at DoD Health, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Veteran Affairs. Before joining CCSi, Bauer was the Division Vice President for Enterprise Technologies at DRC. She has an M.S. in Applied Behavioral Science and Organizational Development from Johns Hopkins University, and a B.A. from Long Island University.
Bauer spoke with WashingtonExec about her role at CCSi, the state and change of the health services industry, emerging trends, IT services, and more.
WashingtonExec: Can you give us some more background information on yourself, and how you got to your current and most recent role at CCSi as Senior Vice President for Health Services?
Maggie Bauer: I have been in federal IT contracting for about 25 years. Initially, I was involved in software quality assurance, where I was exposed to the software development life-cycle. This provided me a solid basis to move forward into IT in general. I began working in infrastructure services and was program manager for the Department of Energy. From there, I became a program manager for an engagement at the U.S. Senate. My team provided services to all 100 senators and managed all of their desktops on the Hill and in all 50 states and Senate committees as well as the Capitol Hill Police (about 10-12,000 desktops in total).
Next, I moved into business development. Health IT had become a focus area within the federal space. One of my pursuits was at the CDC in Atlanta. There, we won a contract to provide IT infrastructure service and support for the CDC complex. At that point I became more familiar with the mission of public health organizations and began to evolve my health IT and services skill set. Today, I’ve been in the health IT and service arena for over a decade. I’ve supported agencies and offices with critical public health missions such as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the FDA and the CDC while working at DRC, Dell Government (formerly Perot Systems) and QSS Group.
“As I progressed in my career in health IT leadership, I began to see an evolution in client expectations requiring vendors to be more effective by understanding the client’s mission, which I fully support and advocate.”
During this time, I found that to be successful, you must understand the mission. I focused on hiring people and working with people with not only an IT background, but with a healthcare or health services background. One of the things that attracted me to CCSi was that they were not just focused exclusively on health IT, but also on delivering health services. We don’t provide healthcare per-se, but we do all the work around delivering health services such as clinical care design, informatics, education and training program design, and program management. Essentially, CCSi delivers services that bridge the boundaries between the technical, clinical, and ultimately, the citizen’s worlds.
WashingtonExec: What can you tell us about the health services industry over the last few years? How has it evolved?
Maggie Bauer: What I’ve seen is that in order to be successful, competitive, and provide the best services to clients, you need to look at both the IT piece and have an understanding of the mission. We are in a very challenging market in the federal contracting arena from a budget perspective, which of course has a direct impact on competition. However, public health is less challenged from a budget perspective. So, companies that were not previously in the space are starting to shift into the health space either through acquisition or re-branding. CCSi has been delivering health services for years and as a result of our depth and breadth of experience in this market, we are better positioned to deliver these services, delivering what we like to call people-centric services.
WashingtonExec: What are some emerging trends in the industry?
Maggie Bauer: I just came back from HIMSS 2013 in New Orleans. There are so many emerging trends that it’s difficult to name just a few. Meaningful use, interoperability, mobile health, informatics, patient engagement – all of which are facilitated by IT and have a health service element to them as well – are certainly among the leading emerging trends.
One of the areas we are looking at is mobile health, or mHealth, which enables patients and providers to have greater access to health records, whether through social media, a website or a portal. mHealth is truly a “game-changer” in terms of realizing the goal of patient-centered services that provide better healthcare at a reduced cost.
WashingtonExec: You also have experience working and delivering IT services. How has information sharing changed? Do you think social media has a positive or negative impact on information sharing?
Maggie Bauer: Social media in the health space has a very positive impact on information sharing. Personal health records, electronic health records for providers, and aggregation of files into public health analytics all has created a more holistic view of healthcare.
In the general IT space information sharing has grown exponentially, resulting in greater progress and transparency. “Self-healing” types of tools and technologies, and certainly the ability to “Google” anything, has moved us into an era that requires less investment in time and resources, with much greater and immediate access to ever-expanding amounts of information.
WashingtonExec: What would you say CCSi prides itself in?
Maggie Bauer: It says it all in our name… CREATIVE Computing Solutions. We strive to be just that in the solutions we deliver to our customers. We look beyond the obvious. We work to fully understand and respond to our customers’ “pain points” in unique and innovative ways – no “cookie cutter” solutions for us.
“In today’s world, it’s not just about doing more with less. You need to do even more with even less. Budgets are tighter than I’ve ever seen. At CCSi, we fully recognize and respond to the need to be agile and ready to deliver the right people with the right skill set at the right price.”
WashingtonExec: How would you describe your leadership style?
Maggie Bauer: I’m always described as very direct – no nonsense – and you never question where you stand with me. I am also very nurturing which may sound contradictory, but I firmly believe in giving people positive feedback at every opportunity. In a way I would say I’m both the good cop and the bad cop in the same person. I have specific expectations and communicate them clearly, but also focus on being positive, rewarding and recognizing folks in a variety of ways. I’m Italian so I love to have staff events at my home that involve good Italian food. While I am very action-oriented, I never lose sight of the end-result. One of my favorite axioms is “don’t confuse activity with results.”
WashingtonExec: What was your very first job?
Maggie Bauer: My very first job was working in a deli in Brooklyn, New York at the age of 14. I used to work on Saturdays from 8AM to 8PM (never mind the child labor laws). I would take orders over the phone, box them up, and deliver them to the customers – often stopping to have a cup of tea with the customer. It was fantastic! I loved the hard work of it. These days, my inbox may never empty – but that’s just part of the challenge.