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As VP of Customer Success, Derek Cooper Focuses on Operational Excellence and Collaboration

By HealthMyne | September 4, 2019 | Blog

When Derek Cooper joined HealthMyne earlier this year, the three themes that had defined his career thus far converged: a relentless focus on customer service, a passion for making better use of imaging data and a strong commitment to driving precision health forward, especially in the oncology space.

“When I saw what HealthMyne was doing, the light bulb that clicked for me was the power of being able to combine these massive data sets of both genomics and radiomics – so radiogenomics – to drive precision health,” Cooper explains. “HealthMyne solves real world, very practical problems by making use of novel technology on the imaging side, but then also producing data sets that I think will drive forward the future of healthcare. That’s what came together for me as a huge motivation for working here.”

Cooper joined HealthMyne in April as Vice President of Customer Success, following 12 years of experience with industry leaders Philips Healthcare and Roche Diagnostics.

“I’ve been around customer service pretty much my entire career,” he says. “My bigger goal is to do what I can to help make the company successful, and first-class service is essential to that. Service is a challenge that a lot of technology companies struggle with – they have to first harness the power of a new technology, then sell it, so service often comes in third. I know we can use service as a key differentiator.”

Imaging and Information

Cooper developed a love for computer science and data during his college years, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in the field as well as a master’s degree in Information Science from the University of Michigan. His first job, though, was in radiology.

“I came out of school just as the dot com boom went bust,” he said, “but I ended up finding a job at Michigan State University, in a web development role in the radiology department. At the time, they were building their own radiology information system. So I took on the challenge of helping them develop and build this web-based radiology information system. And since it was a relatively small radiology department, I got exposed to a lot of different things – PACS, imaging devices and working with radiologists and techs and even the administrative staff – all of which helped me develop an understanding of the operational side of how the radiology department functioned. It was a great opportunity in hindsight because I got to see how everything came together.”

From that start in radiology, Cooper joined Philips Healthcare as an integration specialist, taking his knowledge of how the radiology department worked and applying it within a very specific system. From that first technical role, he moved through a number of leadership positions, leading a team of project managers and application consultants focused on professional service delivery for a couple years, and then advancing again to lead both technical and professional service delivery for multiple service lines in the Midwest region.

“At Philips I had a great opportunity to broaden my skill set clinically, understanding radiology and the cardiology space, but it also was a huge step professionally,” Cooper says. “I had direct responsibility and accountability for making sure that we were taking care of our customers. It was tremendous, and it was without question the most challenging professional year I had ever had, but ultimately, it was good for me.”

On to Oncology

The professional challenges Cooper conquered at Philips set the stage for his next role, within a new business unit launching at Roche Diagnostics.

“Roche, when I joined, was at the point where the product was ready for initial release and they were beginning to build their service team,” Cooper remembers. He helped put together a service team in Europe and the U.S. to support Roche’s clinical decision support platform to aggregate data and apply data science and artificial intelligence to  enable clinical decision support.

“We weren’t going to be able to do all of the service delivery ourselves, so I was [part of a team] charged with finding partners,” he says. “We ended up partnering with Accenture, and I spent a lot of time not only [helping to negotiate] that partnership but also designing what the service delivery process was going to look like, and then hiring a pretty robust team. When I left we had 26-28 people plus partners. Getting to that number of people over two years while building all the processes we needed was a really fun exercise and very challenging.”

Goals and Objectives for HealthMyne

Working with HealthMyne’s leadership team, Cooper is combining Philips’ disciplined approach to delivering processes with what he learned at Roche about working with others across boundaries to solve problems.

“As a small team and a small organization there’s no way for HealthMyne to survive if people are not working together. And I think we’re set up well to do that,” he says. “If you stand in the middle of the office on any given day, you’ll see everybody interacting with everybody else. In addition, one of the things HealthMyne does tremendously well is focusing on having well defined, well executed processes. We’re already delivering product releases on schedule, on budget. To be doing that routinely within just a short couple of years is something very few organizations have the discipline to do, and it’s incredible to see.”

Cooper’s approach to building an equally amazing service organization for HealthMyne is focused on bringing a few key beliefs to life within the organizations:

  • Great Talent: “I believe the success of any team is going to be dependent on the people within that team. That’s the customers’ touchpoint so we have to hire great people. The technical skills of course need to be adequate, but almost more importantly, you’ve really got to have great people skills – the ability to connect and communicate effectively, to empathize with the customer, understand what their needs are and follow through to deliver on things.”
  • Consistency: “Service is simple and straightforward in a lot of ways. It’s really hard to do well, but service is actually just telling the customer what you’re going to do and then doing it. But you’ve got to do that repeatedly. It’s not just one interaction, it’s two, three, four, five. And as you do that, that’s where you start to develop the trust that you’ll be there to support them.”
  • Make it Easy: “We have to hyper focus on making it as easy as possible for the customer to interact with us because that’s what drives people nuts. If you put a phone call in and have to go through three or four people to get your answer, that’s a problem.”

Next Steps

As he approaches six months with HealthMyne, Cooper is thinking about what comes next on the road to a great service organization for the company.

“We really have great people here and our solution is going to carry us a long way,” says Cooper.

To build on that great start, he plans to soon begin rolling out a revamped customer onboarding process focused on three important goals: standardizing the customer experience, ensuring the HealthMyne team understands needs and can execute against them and making it easier for customers to work through the process.

If you have input for improving HealthMyne customer service, or would like more information on the HealthMyne solution, contact Cooper here.