Alumni Profile: Jonathan Dreyer, MHSA '96

What degree did you receive from GW's SPHHS? What was your concentration?

I received a Master of Health Services Administration just before the MHSA program became part of SPHHS. My concentration was acute care and ambulatory care management.

Please tell us about your current position. Can you describe a typical day?

As a consultant, I assist organizations in our field with the development of products and services that ultimately benefit patients. While there is not a typical day, the consistent focus for me is helping forward-thinking leaders with creating innovative solutions that are sustainable.

Please tell us about your path from SPHHS to where you are today. How did you get your first job in the field?

Organizations have created new roles over the past twenty years to develop, implement, support, and optimize information technology. This change is reflected in my career path.

Before becoming involved in information technology, I completed my administrative residency at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, NY. Ted Jospe, a GW MHSA graduate, was CEO of the hospital during that time. By completing project rotations in the acute care services, ambulatory services, home health services, and in the primary care clinics for the underserved, I gained a real world understanding of the healthcare delivery system.

Then I worked for MedPartners, a national for-profit physician practice management company at the time, which gave me the opportunity to work closely with physicians in a private practice. I also had my first ongoing experience with using health information systems.

At HCR ManorCare, a national for-profit long-term care company, my position was Field Systems Analyst, a new role within the organization. I was part of a cross-functional team (operations, information technology, and consultants) that implemented a custom-developed IT revenue cycle system to over 30 nursing homes.

My next position was with Cerner, a global health information technology supplier. During my five years with the company, I worked with 20 clients across the United States. Through training and client assignments, I learned about health information technology, implemented electronic medical records and clinical decision support systems, and participated in the software development process for new applications.

After Cerner, I served in information technology management positions at three health systems (Inova Health System, Community Health Network, and Lancaster General Health). All three organizations have excellent reputations for providing high-quality care and for serving their communities.

Almost all of my professional roles were either brand-new positions or had been created less than five years earlier. These experiences and my GW education contributed to my current consulting role.

What is the best career advice you have ever received?

The best advice I have ever received is to make career choices based on who you are. The challenge is that you may not know your best long-term choices right away, especially as healthcare rapidly changes. Some of the best roles may not exist today.

The MHSA degree provides a broad-based set of knowledge and skills that continues to be relevant as the industry changes.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in your field?

Take time to do the research and talk to leaders in the field. Also, actively network by joining and participating in professional organizations.

What was the impetus for getting your SPHHS degree?

While I was always interested in business, management and technology, I also value community service. The MHSA appeared to be the right fit. The degree program fully lived up to my expectations. The MHSA helped me to understand healthcare management practices, the regulatory environment, the complex set of stakeholders, and most importantly, the role of physicians and other clinicians in the patient care process.

Interview conducted December 2012.