Creating a Better, More Cost-Effective Health Care Industry

dana sellers

Dana Sellers (B.S. ChE 1975) is passionate about using data to improve patient care. In the early ‘80s, she noticed that major hospital departments couldn’t afford the expensive computer systems for health care data collection. So, she partnered with a fellow Longhorn and embarked on her first entrepreneurial venture to develop health care applications for personal computers, setting the course for her successful career.

Today, Sellers is the founder and CEO of Encore, A Quintiles Company, a health care IT consulting firm. With more than 30 years of experience in health care technology, Sellers leads a team of consultants who work with hospitals and clinicians around the world to implement applications and leverage data to improve care and lower patient costs.

Beyond optimizing software, Encore offers strategic planning and data analysis services that help organizations effectively utilize resources, improve financial outcomes and better meet patient needs.

Sellers founded Encore in 2009 and five years later managed the company through an acquisition by Quintiles, the world’s largest provider of biopharmaceutical services. Now, Encore is part of a network of more than 33,000 employees conducting business in more than 100 countries.

Under Seller’s leadership, Encore has been named one of Houston’s fastest-growing enterprises, as well as one of the industry’s “Best Places to Work” each of the past five years.

Encore is a primarily virtual company, allowing consultants to be mobile and support a large, diverse group of national and international clients. Though Encore employees might not share an office, Sellers has fostered a collaborative, supportive community centered on a set of core values.

“People want to work in an environment where they understand and feel supported by what the company believes in,” Sellers said. “When one of our consultants is struggling on a job, they know the company will back them up and help them be successful.”

Before founding Encore, Sellers was president and COO of Healthlink, then the nation’s largest privately held health care information systems consulting firm. Sellers has held leadership positions at IBM and DuPont, and at Trinity Computing Systems, Inc., which she co-founded.

Sellers discovered her interest in using data to advance health care while taking two biomedical engineering courses as a chemical engineering undergraduate at the Cockrell School.

“We took chemical engineering concepts, like fluid transfer, and applied it to patients,” Sellers said. “We ordered blood to be drawn from patients to see how the blood’s chemistry changed over time. Then we did computer modeling to predict how the blood would change and compared it with the patient’s results. Those classes lit a spark.”

After graduation, Sellers went to work for IBM supplying mainframe-based applications to hospitals, and oil and chemical companies. There, Sellers and fellow Longhorn Jim Pritchett (B.A. 1974, MBA 1976) saw that hospital departments, particularly cardiology, lacked computers. But they knew that those departments could not afford large mainframe technology, the only platform that hosted health care applications at the time.

So, in 1982, Sellers and Pritchett founded Trinity Computing Systems and began developing less expensive applications for hospital departments using Apple 2 technology. Soon thereafter, IBM announced its first personal computer, and Trinity’s business quickly expanded to include more PC platforms.

“It was an exciting time. Technology was changing overnight, and that was the challenge,” Sellers said. “Nothing was compatible with anything, and we were trying to keep up with everything.”

Seller’s career success stems from her proven ability to anticipate industry needs and deliver innovative solutions. She attributes her problem-solving skills to her time spent as an engineering student, and she is actively involved with the Cockrell School community.

She was the fall 2014 commencement speaker and participated in this year’s Cockrell School LeaderShape Institute, an interactive leadership development program for undergraduate students.

“It’s fun being around the kids and seeing what they’re doing,” Sellers said. “It’s exciting to be able to help students with some of the great ideas they have.”

In fall 2014, Sellers established the Sellers Family Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Chemical Engineering, which recognizes outstanding chemical engineering students.

Sellers is a member of the Texas Health Institute’s Board of Trustees and has served on the boards of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), the CHIME Foundation and the CHIME Education Foundation. She is also a past chair of the board of Healthcare for the Homeless in Houston. Recently, Sellers was named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in Healthcare for the Gulf Coast Region and a Cockrell School Distinguished Engineering Graduate.

Sellers, her husband Gene (B.A. ’74, J.D.’77), and their sons Lamar (B.A. ‘07, J.D. ’11) and Baine (B.A. ’09) are all UT Austin alumni. Her father, Norris Davis (B.J. ’37, M.J. ’38), was a distinguished faculty member in the journalism program who served as chairman of the department and associate dean of the Moody College of Communication.