Besa Bauta

Chief Data Officer and Chief Compliance Officer, MercyFirst


Dr Besa Bauta is the Chief Data Officer and Chief Compliance Officer for MercyFirst, an organization that provides health and mental health services for clients in New York. She’s also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at NYU.
As MercyFirst’s divisional lead for Research, Evaluation, Analytics and Compliance for Health (REACH), she oversees data integration technology, infrastructure development, research, evaluation and analytics.
She served as Research Director for a USAID community-based education project in Afghanistan and as Senior Director of Research and Evaluation at the Center for Evidence-Based Implementation and Research (CEBIR) at Catholic Guardian Services.
Dr Bauta has extensive expertise in monitoring, evaluation, data systems, mental health and social and health services. Her current research focuses on optimizing health systems to improve health outcomes, including implementing novel technologies in social services and healthcare.

Getting to know...

Why did you want to get involved in the Business of Data Advisory Board?

My interest in joining this data advisory board is two-fold. First, to increase the visibility of the field and highlight the importance of building a robust information and data infrastructure in improving business processes, services and outcomes.

Secondly, I wanted to use my role to further diversify the field of technology, data science and informatics to enhance equity, inclusion and have the field reflect diversity in terms of viewpoints, gender, ethnicity, culture and training, and expand new opportunities for those interested in entering these fields.

What are the biggest data challenges you will be facing in 2021?

The response to [COVID-19] is a case example that will be studied for decades to come and examined for lessons learned regarding pandemic response, shifting of behavioral habits and relying on technology to conduct business, provide services and learn.

The challenges ahead include further codification of new ways of working (which relies heavily on the latest communication technologies), risk mitigation processes and applications. Leveraging organizational, client, systems and process data to improve products and provide precision patient-oriented care, while mitigating individual risk to clients, staff and communities will also be a key challenge.

Further development and maintenance of robust health information infrastructures are central to ensuring patient safety, including tracking of future COVID-19 related infections, vaccinations, and compliance with the latest prophylactic protocols.

Having timely, complete and accurate data will be important in building prescriptive models, unearthing insights to support decisions and priming healthcare systems to get ahead of potential risks.

Fast-tracking common data approaches and healthcare interoperability advances efficacious delivery of care for individuals and communities also continues to be a key industry focus.