Spotlighting Our Engineering Team: The Experts Accelerating Our Data (Cree Flory)


Verana Health

We’re shining a spotlight on a few of our Engineering team members at Verana Health. This team of more than 40 bright minds is responsible for the development of sophisticated pipelines and platforms that allow us to ingest and curate a high volume of de-identified healthcare data that can help accelerate research and improve patients’ lives.

In this blog series, we spotlight Cree Flory.

Q: How would you explain your role?

A: As the director of Application Development Engineering, I’m responsible for leading an 11-member team that’s focused on building software as a service solutions. While I have a strong technical background, my primary role is centered on people, outcomes, and the establishment of reliable and scalable systems that enable our engineers to excel. I’m frequently involved in incident management and deployments, which provide an opportunity to collaborate with various teams across the company.

My primary focus is on servant leadership and emphasizing empowerment and excellence across application engineering. This means actively listening to my teams’ ideas, concerns, and aspirations, as well as removing obstacles and providing the necessary resources for success. I strive to create an environment where individuals feel valued and encouraged to contribute their best work. By fostering a culture of trust, collaboration, and continuous improvement, we can collectively drive our company’s success.

Q: What attracted you to the field of Engineering?

A: Engineering has been a part of my life, as far back as I can remember. My love for the field was nurtured by those around me. I grew up in a very rural corner of Pennsylvania that did not have the same level of access to technology that others had. In grade school, during the AOL era, my dad would spend many nights helping me learn how to modify my video game characters (i.e., making them pink or purple) to make Quake or Command and Conquer more appealing to my interests. 

In high school, I was enrolled in a school programming course, and loved the logic that was involved. My teacher went back to college to increase his skill set, and created three more levels of programming courses, just so I could continue learning. By this time, I was writing applications for everything, including apps to track and rate my video game collections, new books, and more. Engineering was so ingrained into my life, as this thing that I loved, that I completely overlooked the field in college and majored in physics, instead. However, I ended up finding my way back to engineering about half way through my college career.

Q: What attracted you to Verana Health?

A: I am forever interested in the health technology field. What attracted me to Verana Health (Verana) was the company’s commitment to transform the landscape of medical research through data insights. Verana’s unique model of assembling and activating clinical databases from medical associations resonated with my passion for leveraging technology to drive meaningful advancements in healthcare. My husband is a Nerdy Nurse who’s worked on the clinical side at research hospitals, and long ago, helped me understand the impact that these technologies have on people.

Verana’s vision of enabling clinicians to participate more effectively in clinical studies, and enhance the clinical trial workflow through its Verana Trial Connect platform, were compelling to me. It presented a clear path to help these research efforts, which brings the development of new treatments in patient care to real people.

Since I’ve been at Verana, we’ve also introduced something I’m very proud of called VeraSite, a platform for data-driven site selection in clinical trials. VeraSite exemplifies a revolution in how we approach clinical research in simplifying the process of building sophisticated and precise cohorts, making it possible to identify trial sites and matched patient counts swiftly. With this tool, life sciences companies and clinical research organizations can identify optimal clinical research sites by building cohorts based on various parameters, such as demographics or diagnosis. This process is not only quick, but provides in depth site-level details, which is crucial for making informed decisions in today’s medical research environment.

Q: What inspires you to do this work?

The rapid advancements, the challenge of solving complex problems, and the opportunity to be at the forefront of innovation in healthcare are what drive me to do this work each day.

A: What truly inspires me to do this work is the intersection of three fundamental passions: 

  • People – Witnessing the tangible benefits that our work brings to patients, clinicians, and researchers is profoundly motivating. Each technological advancement and each data insight we unlock has the power to transform healthcare experiences and outcomes of people around us.
  • Leadership – To me, leadership is about inspiring and empowering individuals to achieve their best, both professionally and personally. There’s a deep satisfaction in fostering an environment where team members feel valued, supported and a part of something larger than themselves. Seeing them grow, innovate and contribute to our collective mission reaffirms my commitment to this path.
  • Health technology – The changing  landscape of health technology is a constant source of inspiration. The rapid advancements, the challenge of solving complex problems, and the opportunity to be at the forefront of innovation in healthcare are what drive me to do this work each day. Being part of an industry that’s reshaping the future of medicine, leveraging cutting-edge technologies to enhance patient care, and improving healthcare delivery systems is not just a career for me – it’s a passion that combines my deepest interests and values. 

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

A: The work we do at Verana, and the profound impact we have on people’s lives, are the most rewarding aspects of my job. I receive an immense sense of fulfillment in the direct impact of our work, when it comes to improving healthcare outcomes. We’re at the cutting-edge of healthcare technology, transforming how medical research is conducted and how healthcare data is utilized, by providing our clients with innovative and easy to use solutions. Our work in harnessing the power of data to better drive clinical decisions, enhance patient care and accelerate medical research, contributes significantly to the advancement of healthcare. Knowing that our efforts are leading to more effective treatments, improved patient outcomes, and ultimately a better quality of life for countless individuals, adds a sense of purpose.

Q: What advancements do you see in your field in the next 5 years?

A: Over the past decade, I’ve seen fads come and go in the Healthtech space. Some have been more impactful than others, but I believe we’re actually at a turning point. We see industry trends, such as consolidation of providers, a high level of private equity investment, revolutionary therapies, and an aging population. Not only are we seeing a huge amount of medical innovation, we’re also seeing the signs of an aging healthcare infrastructure struggling to meet the needs of Americans. 

I feel very strongly that easier and more accessible clinical research, as well as better population health monitoring tools, will help those in the field deliver care and new treatments faster and more efficiently. We’re in a position to bring new technologies, such as machine learning and an improved user experience, right to those who are on the front lines. 

I’m excited for the day when we can empower a researcher to quickly find answers, without having to ask specific questions about the data, by providing a framework that makes their job easier and leveraging the power of these new tools to identify unseen trends or outcomes. 

When she’s not empowering her team to create applications that can help improve patient care, Cree enjoys spending time with her two dogs (Pictured with her Great Dane, Napoleon; and retired racing Greyhound, Atticus).

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