Grad’s love for data inspires changes in healthcare

Photo by Dan Toulgoet
Photo by Dan Toulgoet

Not everyone enjoys working with data and analytics. But what if the numbers you provided could change patients’ lives?

You could call that Brendan Bernardo’s mission. A recent graduate of SFU’s Business Analysis Certificate, Brendan serves as a business intelligence specialist for BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services (part of the Provincial Health Services Authority). In his role, he meets with stakeholders to identify priorities for adult tertiary mental health in B.C. hospitals and ways to support their vision.

“I’ve always been interested in helping others, and through school I found the love of numbers and the power of analytics to do that,” Brendan says.

He began his career with the organization as a data analyst, generating reports based on requests from leadership teams. Once he moved into his current role, he realized these reports could help create positive change for patients and hospital staff.

“We may look data that helps support quality improvement initiatives,” Brendan explains. “Or, we look into trends based on the expansion of virtual health services and the response to COVID-19.”

“We ask ourselves, ‘How do we produce meaningful results that actually support our patients and clients?’” 

He first registered for SFU’s Requirements Elicitation, Communication and Management course to learn strategies for engaging with stakeholders. The course sparked an interest in learning more about the business analysis field, and he ended up enrolling in the certificate program.

As the only person working in healthcare in most of his classes, Brendan brought a unique perspective—and learned much from his classmates in return. By watching how his peers, in industries like mining or tech, applied concepts they were learning, Brendan picked up new ideas to put forward in his own role. 

He now applies business analysis strategies to his data collection and reporting work. As a result, Brendan is not only meeting business needs, but also working with leaders to identify new opportunities in healthcare. 

“I think that whole aspect of collaboration to create meaningful products is something that I really enjoy,” he says, “I’m sitting at the same table with all stakeholders, having these level conversations, because we’re all trying to work towards that same type of solution.”

As for anyone who is considering the field of business analysis, Brendan’s advice is to start thinking like a BA within your organization. 

“Even if you haven’t started the certificate yet, think about how it would actually apply to your current job,” he says. 

“I’m not a BA in title, but I do plenty of BA work, and this program has already helped me move forward in my career.”

By Bernice Puzon