Kerrie Holley, Optum Technology’s First Technical Fellow, Offers Insight into Big Data and AI in Healthcare

Kerrie Holley’s long and distinguished career in the technology sector has seen him accomplish innovative work in software engineering and architecture for companies such as IBM and Cisco. After three decades with IBM and several years as Cisco’s chief technology officer, Holley joined UnitedHealthcare Group’s Optum division in 2016 as its first Technical Fellow. This role has seen him responsible for key strategic developments in emerging healthcare technology areas such as blockchain, genomics and AI and machine learning, providing him with significant insights into the future of big data and AI in the healthcare industry.

In a recent interview, Holley noted that moving from the traditional tech sector into healthcare tech has offered him a new and unique perspective. Operating from inside a specific sector allows him to see the healthcare system’s “warts,” providing greater insight into the key obstacles and most pressing issues. Holley believes that the expanding use of big data and artificial intelligence present some of the most interesting opportunities in healthcare technology, while keeping patient trust may be the most significant barrier to progress.

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Holley’s work in the healthcare technology sector builds upon his earlier work at IBM and Cisco. At IBM, Holley was named an IBM Fellow in 2006, the highest technical leadership role in the company reflecting his long and distinguished record of achievement. Holley also holds several patents related to software engineering and architecture, including patents related to service-oriented architecture.

Since joining Optum Technology in 2016, Holley has been working to realize the full potential of big data and AI in healthcare while confronting major obstacles. His mandate at Optum has been broad, reflecting his deep yet wide-ranging background in deep learning and machine learning.

In addition to his ongoing work as Optum Technology’s Technical Fellow, Holley heads the UnitedHealth Group Fellow, Distinguished Engineer, and Principal Engineer Technical Leadership Career Program and serves on DePaul University’s board of trustees. He has been honored as an IBM Master Inventor in 2012, a Red Herring 100 Global Award Finalist in 2011 and Black Engineer of the Year in 2003.