Alter Everything

A podcast about data science and analytics culture.
Alteryx Community Team
Alteryx Community Team

For this episode of Alter Everything, host Maddie Johannsen is joined by Lynsie Daley, Senior Data Analyst at Intermountain Healthcare.


Not only is she the one responsible for kick starting the Healthcare Industry Alteryx User Group, but she was also featured on a SXSW panel this year alongside Alteryx CEO, Dean Stoecker, focused on using analytics to combat the opioid crisis.


Lynsie details her journey of being a driver for Women of Analytics within her organization, and shares why everyone should challenge themselves and become public speakers.






Lynsie Daley - @Lynsie-D, LinkedIn, Twitter
Maddie Johannsen - @MaddieJ, LinkedIn, Twitter




Community Picks








Episode Transcription

MADDIE: 00:11

[music] Welcome to Alter Everything, a podcast about data science and analytics culture. I'm Maddie Johannsen, and I'll be your host. We're joined by Lynsie Daley, senior data analyst at Intermountain Healthcare. Not only is she the one responsible for kick-starting the Healthcare Industry Alteryx User Group, but she was also featured on a South by Southwest panel this year alongside Alteryx CEO Dean Stoecker. Let's get started. [music]

MADDIE: 00:44

Hey, Lynsie. Welcome to Alter Everything.

LYNSIE: 00:47

Hello. Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited.

MADDIE: 00:51

I'm so excited too. I've worked with you on and off on certain projects here and there throughout. I guess it's probably been about a year since I've known you, and I'm a big fan of yours. I admire you a lot. If you just want to introduce yourself and just tell me a little bit about your background.

LYNSIE: 01:14

Sure. Yeah. So I'm Lynsie Daley. I am a senior data analyst at Intermountain Healthcare, which is based in Salt Lake City. So that's where my office is. I have been with Intermountain for about seven years now as an analyst. And my background, my degrees are both in statistics. So I have kind of a theoretical statistics background, but I really enjoy the more technical data-munching type stuff that I do now.

MADDIE: 01:47

Awesome. Yeah, very cool. I first came to know you because you are very involved on the community. Do you want to kind of talk about some of your achievements there?

LYNSIE: 02:00

Sure. So yeah, we have been an Alteryx customer-- Intermountain-- for probably, I think, about four years now. And a couple years in, we approached Dean and asked about having an industry group for healthcare, so a healthcare user group. And so we got that group started a couple of years ago, and I've been on the leadership committee for that group since the beginning of it. And I've really enjoyed that. I've really valued getting to know different Alteryx users across the country that are in healthcare. It's nice to be able to discuss similar problems with them and to be able to network. We had a breakfast at the Inspire last month, and the turnout to that was incredible and very inspiring to me. So I've been involved in that and just been excited to watch it grow and am so excited now to see the healthcare vertical being built with Dennis and have been interfacing with him a lot there. So very exciting stuff.

MADDIE: 03:13

So yeah, the Healthcare User Group is extremely popular, and it really kicked off our other industry user groups that just continued to grow and people really love. And you participated in something else with Dean. Do you want to share what that is?

LYNSIE: 03:32

Yeah. Yeah. So this March, Dean and I and couple of other leaders in healthcare analytics were able to participate in a panel at South by Southwest in Austin. And what a great experience that was. That got kicked off probably about a year ago now by trying to solicit votes into their panel picker. And we were so honored and so excited to get selected to do that. And our panel was around using analytics to fight the opioid crisis and all of the work that we at Intermountain have done as well as Alteryx and the Colorado Hospital Association. And then the Health and Human Services chief data officer was with us on that panel as well to talk about it from a government standpoint. And it was just a great conversation and a great opportunity for me and, I'm sure, everybody else who participated.

MADDIE: 04:36

Amazing. Yeah. And that's definitely one of the reasons why I admire you so much because everything that you just said. You wanted an industry group, and you approached Dean, and you made it happen. And this amazing contribution to the community of using analytics to dig into the opioid crisis and look for solutions is really inspiring, and I think it just speaks to-- you kind of have this go-getter attitude and persona that I really love, and I think that kind of plays into a little bit of the Women of Analytics Initiative that I know that you're very passionate about at Intermountain as well.

LYNSIE: 05:25

Right. So yeah, I would love to talk about that. So about four years ago, again in probably 2015, a coworker and I were at the Tableau User Conference and attended their panel. And they called it "Data Plus Women." And they kind of just left us thinking. And we came back to the office, and both were thinking, "Why not here? Why can't we do this at Intermountain?" And we already had such a strong analytics community here within Intermountain. We've got about 250 analysts, and we meet monthly and have a strong community that way. And Women in Analytics has just strengthened that even more and been so empowering for the female analysts in our organization. Our leadership was very, very supportive of it right from the beginning. And it started out small, but as things went on, our organization saw how valuable it was to have a group like that to support a minority or to support a group of people who were in our organization. And from our group, there's been several other, what we call here, "caregiver resource groups" that have started at Intermountain. We've got Women in Medicine, Women in Leadership, Veterans in Healthcare, and all of those kind of branched off of this concept of having a group for Women in Analytics.

LYNSIE: 07:01

And Intermountain has also now started an Office of Inclusion, and it began as the Office of Diversity. And the name was recently changed to the Office of Inclusion because that is what we are trying to do. We're trying to be diverse but also include everyone, and so now, we have our own budget for Women in Analytics. We're able to do some really amazing things. We meet monthly for an hour and a half. We have different topics that we discuss around work-life balance and career growth. And one of our recent discussions was how to be assertive versus aggressive, and also, we did one very recently that was around unconscious bias and how to recognize those and deal with those so that they don't become out of hand. And we have internal as well as external speakers. So it's really been a great thing to be a part of. I'm very proud and grateful to have been involved in forming the group, and it's just great to now be able to sit back and watch it grow and participate.

MADDIE: 08:13

Yeah, that's absolutely incredible. The topics that it sounded like you guys are diving into are so universal, and I think that's what's really important with these inclusion initiatives that you see a lot of companies really committing to. And I think that one of the topics, in my mind, is the topic of performance bias, where we see research showing that we tend to overestimate men's performance and underestimate women's. And you hear that quote of, men are often hired and promoted based on their potential, and women are often hired and promoted based on their track record and their past experience. So I'm curious, in addition to looking at the data and as an analyst, having that perspective, how do you, as a business leader and just this respected person in your organization-- how do you go about kind of addressing those challenges around that concept of performance bias?

LYNSIE: 09:26

Right. So I think what I have figured out in the last few years and just through a little bit of research that I've done and some books that I've read, we, as women, have to be aware of those concepts and of those ways of thinking, and we have to empower ourselves our take control of those situations. So I've read a book, and it was very enlightening. And one of the things that it talked about was that women will not typically apply for a job unless they can check off every box on the job description or job requirements, whereas men tend to apply even if they have less than half of those requirements or qualifications. And I think that feeds into the fact that women are perceived based on what they've already done and not their potential. So I think we, as women, can take control back of that by being a little bit more confident and assertive and going ahead and applying for those jobs where we see our potential even though we may not be able to check off all those boxes.

MADDIE: 10:35

Yeah. And do you have any advice for kind of doing that inward look into yourself and really kind of setting yourself up for success in terms of taking stock of your potential and what you're capable of?

LYNSIE: 10:51

Yes, I do. So just a personal experience. When I started my career a little over five years ago as a junior analyst, I was very reserved and quiet and shy, and I didn't put myself out there. And one day, I kind of just looked inward and thought to myself, "Why am I not getting these opportunities? Why am I not getting these more complex projects? Why am I not the one up there speaking?" And I realized very quickly it was because I wasn't putting myself out there. I wasn't putting myself outside of my comfort zone. I had been very comfortable just staying quiet and not really adding much to the conversation or to the project or to whatever I was working on. And I can tell you, from the minute that I made that conscious decision to start stepping outside of my comfort zone and to start speaking up and start saying, "I volunteer," or, "Yes," for a lack of better words, that's where all the opportunities and things came. And that's where I began to see my potential because the more that I spoke in public or the more complex my projects became, the more confidence I got in myself knowing that I was able to work through the challenges of those projects and that every time I spoke in public, I became a little bit better at it. I think you really just have to force yourself out of your comfort zone, and that's the advice that I would give, is to try and consciously do that and be the one that volunteers and be the one that speaks up and try to remember that nobody knows your opinion unless you volunteer it and unless you put it out there.

MADDIE: 12:41

That's great advice. Did you always know that you wanted to be-- you seem like such a great public speaker, and like you said, you were on the South by Southwest panel. And I've heard you talk on webinars, and even right now, I mean, you're a great speaker [laughter]. Do you think that you always wanted to do that? Because I know that some people out there, that's something that they feel like they're never going to be interested in.

LYNSIE: 13:09

Oh my goodness. So absolutely not. If you had told me 5 or 10 years ago that I would be doing all these speaking engagements and training other people, I would have laughed at you [laughter]. But like I said, I was very quiet, and I was very okay with kind of sitting on the periphery and listening and taking everything in. So no, it's not something that I ever thought that I would do, but I can say now that I really enjoy the opportunities and just the networking and the people that I've met because I've been able to put myself out there and take on these different things. It's been really valuable, and I would never go back. I'm glad that I've kind of been able to break out of my shell and do some of these things.

MADDIE: 13:56

Where do you think you would be right now if you hadn't had done that?

LYNSIE: 14:03

I don't know that I would be as advanced in my career as am I now. I've obviously been able to get a couple of promotions since I started as a junior analyst, and in order to get those promotions, you have to demonstrate value-added. And it's hard to add value or to be perceived as adding value if you're kind of the quiet one sitting in the back row. What people don't know, they don't know. And so if you don't make people aware of your contributions and kind of put yourself out there, it doesn't look like you're doing anything even if you are.

MADDIE: 14:44

Yeah. Yeah, that's a really good point. Yeah, I think that's something that I definitely want to work on too and maybe get on stage and give a talk that's to more than a roomful of people. I feel pretty confident when I'm in a room full of people and talking about my work that I'm really close to, and then I think, "Well, why can't I talk about this in a bigger setting?" And when we were at Inspire and I was recording live at the podcast booth in Nashville-- podcasting, I think, is a little bit different because it's kind of a one-on-one conversation, and you can just zone out on that one person and just chat. And I love doing that. I love getting to know people. So giving a talk on stage to a lot of people and kind of having them hear everything that I'm saying is a little bit more nerve-wracking, but I can also kind of agree with what you're saying. The more often you do it, the more comfortable you're going to be. So after Inspire, talking to tons of people, in the podcast, I feel a lot more confident hosting and all that stuff, so.

LYNSIE: 16:03

Right. And that being said, I watch as Libby and Dean get up in front of a crowd of thousands, and they're just able to do that, and it looks so effortless. And I'm probably not quite there yet, but I hope to be someday. And the only way to do that is to just keep doing it and to just keep working on those different techniques. And even though I've done a lot of it, I still pick out little things that I can work on all the time, and I try to do that. And right now, I just said, "Um," and I'm working on not saying that as much and not using those filler words because one thing I've learned is that we ourselves perceive silence a lot more than others do when we're in a public speaking situation. We kind of feel like we have to fill up every little nanosecond of time that we're on stage. But if we take the time to pause and just kind of think about what we're saying and not so much use those filler words, it's perceived very well. It's not as alarming as it feels to us.

MADDIE: 17:12

Yeah, I agree. That's something that I need to work on as well [laughter], as I say, "Um [laughter]." So you work in healthcare. I'm curious what your thoughts are in terms of healthcare topics and what's next and what's coming up.

LYNSIE: 17:38

Right. So I think the biggest thing is learning more about artificial intelligence, and right now, to a lot of analysts in healthcare, that topic seems very nebulous and open-ended. And it does to me as well. I think that as we learn more about it, and we learn more about how to scale that and how to operationalize those solutions that are found through AI, I think that's going to be the next big thing in healthcare, whether it's scaling a predictive model into an electronic medical record so that they can be used in real-time-- there's lots that we can do with real-time data sentiment analysis and facial recognition type, biometric type of data. I think there's just so much data out there right now in healthcare especially that is just going to be-- it's on the brink of being unlocked by AI, and we just have to get to that point. And a lot of us aren't quite there yet.

MADDIE: 18:45

Does our system currently have the legs to support some of these solutions that are going to be proposed by AI?

LYNSIE: 18:52

I think that we're moving in that direction, though I'd like to see it move faster. I think that these are very open-ended solutions, and right now, a lot of people are not open to open-ended things. I'm trying to think of the best way to say it. But it's not a solution that you can grab off the shelf and implement, if that makes sense. And I think it takes a little bit more creativity and innovation, and I think as different aspects of healthcare become more open to that, it will be easier to implement those types of things. And I think we're going to see a lot of cost savings and a lot of value-added and lives even saved from some of these things that we could implement using AI and just the vast amount of data that we have available to us that we're not even really capable of using yet.

MADDIE: 19:48

Off the top of my head, some things that come to mind are potentially identifying people who might be at risk of certain things and talking to them sooner before there's an issue or just really trying to understand those risk factors, like you said, potential lives saved. That's where my mind goes, and I don't know if that's because it's kind of the flashy, exciting solution that could come out of it. But either way, it's exciting to think about.

LYNSIE: 20:26

It is. And I think that's where we're going to see a lot of benefit, is being able to avert potential crises. One project that I think is in the initial thought stages here at Intermountain is being able to predict preterm birth and to be able to intervene with those mothers who are developing those babies and to be able to give them the interventions or the things that they need to maybe not go into preterm labor and to avert that preterm birth. And that, right there, is going to save so many lives if we're able to implement that, just being able to use all of that data that we can get from pregnant mothers and take that data and put it into an AI type of algorithm and to be able to predict those problems before they even happen. One thing that we're doing is hoping to scale a solution like that in conjunction with an application that would allow a patient and a doctor to be connected at all times so that that patient could report different worrisome symptoms to a doctor right away without all of the headache of calling the office and trying to get ahold of them. And vice versa, the doctor could contact the patient right away if they were seeing anything alarming with these AI models. So I think it's not only being able to implement the AI, but we have to learn how to use that data and how to act on it as well.

MADDIE: 21:59

That's interesting. This is something that I like to ask a lot of people. And I mean, we kind of touched on the AI. But I'm curious what you think in terms of just data and analytics overall, what's next for the world, I guess? What can we expect?

LYNSIE: 22:14

Right. So I think this kind of goes along with the AI. And I don't know if it's the next big thing, but I sure hope that it's coming in the future. It would be great if-- we all have access to so much data. All of our wearable devices, all of the things that we're connected to electronically, I would love to see some of this AI and predictive modeling democratized so that lots of ordinary people have those insights at their fingertips. Let's just use a really big example of having a wearable watch or a Fitbit, and it's always collecting all of this data about you. And I'm sure there's so much, that if we implemented AI models on those devices or somehow put that information in the hands of the end user of the device, how much could we learn about ourselves from having that information, and how much could we preemptively learn by having AI connected to those devices?

MADDIE: 23:15

Yeah, that would be amazing. And I wonder too, what would your response be to somebody who-- the amount of data that's out there and the amount of data that's being collected, adding an AI model-- and just that term in general, I think, scares people who might not be in the industry or maybe people who want to be really private with their data, just really careful with it. What would your response be to one of those people?

LYNSIE: 23:50

That's a really good question. I think that people are often afraid because they just don't have enough information. They don't understand maybe the security behind the data or how safe it is for their data to be out there. And introducing another component in AI, where is that data going? It's kind of like a black box. So I think that people need to take a little bit more time to be educated about exactly what's going on with their data and the security behind it. And I think that that's a challenge for people who collect and use that data to kind of make it a little easier for end users to understand how that data is being used or collected or how secure it is.

MADDIE: 24:40

Awesome. Yeah, I think that definitely makes sense. The more information that you have, in terms of understanding the concept, is always going to make you less scared of it, hopefully, unless [laughter] it's a very-- unless it's a topic that's inherently nerve-wracking.

LYNSIE: 24:58

Hopefully, to me anyway, I think that the benefits of having something like that outweigh the risk of the data being out there. And I know not everybody feels that way, but I can just imagine in the future sometime, for example, maybe someday, we'll be able to predict a heart attack before it happens so that that person can get to medical attention before that's even happened.

MADDIE: 25:25

Yeah. Yeah, that's a really good point. I mean, the more information, the better. And maybe that's just my personal preference, but yeah, solutions like that just sound absolutely incredible, so.

LYNSIE: 25:39


MADDIE: 25:41

Very cool. So now we are going to transition into our Community Picks Segment. So Lynsie, what's your Community Pick this week?

LYNSIE: 25:52

So I talked a lot about a book that I've read before that talks about confidence in women and how to overcome some of those challenges. And the book is actually called the Confidence Code, and it's by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. And we read it as a group as part of our Women in Analytics group here at Intermountain. And there are a few books that I've read that I've learned so much from. It has so many just different anecdotes and statistics and facts about gaining confidence. And a lot of it I was able to put into practice in my own career and my own life, so I would highly recommend checking it out.

MADDIE: 26:32

Great. Yeah, I absolutely will. I'm always looking for new book recommendations. So I will absolutely check that one out. My Community Pick this week is a company called "Imperfect Produce." And what they do is, they work directly with farmers, and they basically ship their unwanted produce to consumers like me who sign up for their subscription service. So the food that they send me is-- there's typically nothing wrong with it at all, but it's food that's either surplus and the grocery store doesn't want it, or it looks a little funny and the grocery store doesn't want it. But what's really cool about Imperfect Produce, specifically, is that they send me a snapshot of the data that me ordering these boxes had-- the impact that it has. So for example, on my snapshot, it says I've saved 169 pounds of diverted produce from going to the landfill and 6,760 gallons of water saved and 576 pounds of CO2 out of the air. So to me, I love seeing those kinds of things. I love knowing that my choices are having a positive impact.

MADDIE: 27:54

And Imperfect Produce, it's in the US, and it's only in certain cities. So highly recommend checking them out. And if Imperfect Produce doesn't deliver to your area, there's a lot of companies that have similar initiatives. And their blog is also really cool too. So you can always enjoy their blog even if they aren't in your area. But for example, they talk about the onion market or the apple industry, and they just talk about things that you might not really have in mind while you're shopping. And it's just cool to think about, where did your food come from, and what's going on behind the scenes, or why does it cost this much? Those things are very intriguing to [laughter] me. So yeah, shout-out to Imperfect Produce.

LYNSIE: 28:40

That is awesome. I'll have to check that out [laughter] for sure.

MADDIE: 28:43

Great. Awesome. Well, Lynsie, thank you so much for joining me. Everybody check out the show notes. I will be sure to link to Lynsie's profile on the community. Be sure to join the Healthcare Industry User Group. And if you're not in the healthcare industry, you can always join because I mean, a lot of the use cases and things that you guys talk about in that user group kind of apply to a big group of people, some of those universal topics and use cases that can be adapted to whatever industry you're in too.

LYNSIE: 29:14


MADDIE: 29:15

Cool. All right. Well, thank you so much, Lynsie.

LYNSIE: 29:18

Thank you. [music]

MADDIE: 29:22

Thanks for tuning in to Alter Everything. Continue the fun and share your thoughts on Twitter using #AlterEverythingPodcast or leave us a review on your favorite podcast app. You can also subscribe on the Alteryx community at And hey, while you're there, go ahead and fill out our audience engagement survey. The first 100 people to leave their feedback will be entered to win one of five pairs of Bluetooth headphones. You can also join us in person at Inspire London this October. Use the promo code inspirepodcast, all one word, for 15% off your Inspire registration. Hope to see you there. [music]

This episode of Alter Everything was produced by Maddie Johannsen (@MaddieJ).