Faces of UMSI: Anjan Banerjee
Healthcare administrator Anjan Banerjee (MHI ’19) recognized the potential of data to transform healthcare years before computers were even introduced into clinical practice. Still working at the forefront of health informatics, Anjan wants to use data to increase care access, focus treatment and improve health outcomes.
As a client services fellow at Trinity Health headquarters in Livonia, MI, Anjan is honing his leadership skills through exposure to different areas of the healthcare industry. “As a fellow, we’re learning about how the Trinity Health system works. … We have an opportunity to meet with all the different leaders at the organization,” he said. “At the same time, we’re trying to mold what we believe our future should be.”
For Anjan, that future is in healthcare data and IT. His interest in the field emerged while volunteering at hospitals as a high schooler. “At that point, computers in healthcare was not a thing,” he said. Working with paper records at a Medicaid clinic in Flint, MI, young Anjan began to imagine how transformative digitizing that data could be for the healthcare industry. “Computers were starting to make a huge impact in the banking industry, the airline industry,” he said. “You start to think about where else this could work.”
After getting a bachelor’s degree in zoology at Michigan State University, Anjan headed to the University of South Florida, where he obtained master’s degrees in health administration and business administration. He then joined the U.S. Navy as a compliance officer at a naval health clinic in Illinois.
Anjan’s eight years in the Navy included a deployment to Afghanistan and two years on an aircraft carrier. Eventually he became the director of administration for the Navy Expeditionary Medical Support Command in Williamsburg, Virginia. “My first exposure to nationwide medical records was in the military,” Anjan said. Again, he recognized the capability of digital records to reveal the impacts of social determinants of health; however, this kind of subtle data — environmental aspects, family histories, etc. — wasn’t yet being recorded meaningfully.
When offered the opportunity for a second deployment, he declined. “I said, ‘You know what, I want to try and get out and see what I can do in different areas.’”
After a year-long stint as a healthcare administrator for Mott Children’s Health Center, Anjan’s ambitions began to tug at him again. “At that point, I decided that I wanted another change because I saw where health care was leading,” Anjan said. “I saw the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act’s effects and what the increase of data and computing power was doing in healthcare.”
He applied to UMSI’s Master of Health Informatics program as well as the master’s program in computer science at U-M Flint and was accepted into both. He decided to go with UMSI, he said, because he was more attracted to the human side of information science. “I wanted to be able to be a leader and a manager, not so much a person sitting behind a computer screen programming most of my days. At UMSI, you gain enough knowledge to understand how to talk to a programmer, how to guide them and bridge the gap between the programmers and providers to make sure you’re getting the desired outcomes.”
From UMSI, Anjan was accepted into a competitive one-year fellowship at Trinity Health system. At Trinity’s headquarters in Livonia, MI, Anjan manages the development of training rooms to help hospital staff transition to a new electronic medical record system. He wants to make it as easy as possible for clinicians, nurses, therapists and everyone who interacts with the new system to input data that may reveal important trends. At the same time, he’s seeking out Trinity’s leaders in healthcare data and IT, learning about how they collect data, communicate with doctors and decide what kinds of analyses to perform.
Anjan wants to harness data to help patients and colleagues while improving health outcomes, and he views Trinity as the perfect environment in which to do that. “I chose Trinity over the other opportunities I had because I liked how the organization really lived its mission and vision,” he said. “I hope that in the future they also see that I can add to the value of their organization. I’d be more than ecstatic if they choose to keep me on.”