Spotlight on Dustin Thomas, vice president for Decision Support

May 22, 2017, 07:55 AM by KirstiAnn Clifford
Dustin Thomas joined UTMB in 2016 as the financial executive over forecasting, budgeting and operational analytics. He oversees compilation of UTMB’s annual budget, financial business planning, and the institution-wide strategy for the UTMB Discover data warehouse and suite of analytics applications.

Most recently, Thomas worked at Scottsdale Healthcare in Arizona, where he established a clinical and business intelligence program and served as the central finance administrator supporting five hospitals, an employed physician group and a population health management division.

Thomas holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in business and health services administration from the University of Utah. He is a member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association and remains an active leader with the national Order of the Arrow leadership development program of the Boy Scouts of America.

What does Best Care mean to you and how do you contribute?
Best Care means treating every patient the way we would hope to be treated if we were in their shoes. Providing the best evidence-based clinical care and extraordinary customer service to our patients and their families is so important, while also staying mindful that health care is very expensive so we must deliver great care in the most efficient ways possible. My team and I contribute to Best Care by providing data, metrics and financial information to our clinicians and leaders so they can continually improve UTMB’s quality, experience and cost of care.

What are the most challenging aspects of your job as VP of Decision Support? The most rewarding?
UTMB has lots of very complex clinical, research, educational and financial data. When I come to work, I’m excited for the challenge of finding that data, connecting it and organizing it into actionable information that helps us grow, improve and better manage our business. It’s always rewarding to see the residents and students on campus, who remind us that in the midst of our world-class research and patient care, we are training the next generation of physicians, nurses and care providers.

You’ve been at UTMB for more than six months now. How do you like Texas so far?
Coming most recently from the Arizona desert, I love living in Texas and next to the Gulf. In my role with UTMB’s budget, I’ve had the opportunity to visit the Legislature in Austin, which has given me a new appreciation for the magnitude of this state and the diversity of thought that exists in the different regions.

What was your first job?
Before I started as an EKG (electrocardiogram) technician, I had a job working evening and weekend shifts at a used CD store called Disc-Go- Round. As a result, I have all kinds of one-hit-wonders and music trivia swirling around in my head. A side benefit of that job was I sometimes got to be DJ for the cosmic bowling nights at the local bowling alley, which was a ton of fun.

What do you like to do outside of work?
I love to travel. Las Vegas is my favorite—for no more than 48 hours at a time! Luckily my parents now live near there so I get to visit often. It’s such a great place to meet up with friends, watch sports, have a great meal, see a cool show (I like “O” by Cirque de Soleil at the Bellagio theater and “Le Rêve” at the Wynn because of the water), relax or gamble. I’m a numbers person, so I love playing Pai Gow poker at the Cromwell Casino because I get to organize cards into a variety of hands and it’s a social game so I can chit chat with the other players and dealers.

A great perk of living in Galveston is being able to walk my dog, a yellow lab named Stoli, along the beach. I also like to ski and golf when I get the chance.

What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
Most people are surprised to learn I ride a motorcycle. Since moving here, my bike is rusting at a rate I never would have believed though, so I might have to trade it in for a boat!

What’s something you always wanted to do but have not done yet?
I’ve always wanted to fly a plane! Getting a pilot’s license might be on my bucket list one day.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I haven’t yet been to Australia and would love to spend a couple of weeks exploring that part of the world. Everyone I’ve ever met from Down Under is happy, having fun and enjoying life.