Before joining Health Catalyst in 2013, Kathleen Merkley was a nurse/clinical nurse specialist/nurse practitioner with Intermountain Healthcare for over 30 years. As she grew as a clinician, working primarily in EDs, she saw firsthand the importance of data and insights that could drive improvements leading to better patient care outcomes. So, when Intermountain offered her an opportunity to lead work in medical informatics—specifically a system effort to develop an ED electronic health record—she welcomed it.
In her current role as SVP for clinical improvement at Health Catalyst, Kathleen leads a team of nurses who work with healthcare systems throughout the US and UK. Her work has contributed to a decrease in US sepsis deaths, reductions in 30-day heart failure readmissions, improved pneumonia care, lowered C-section rates, and increased newborn breastfeeding. Recently she has directed an urgent effort in the UK to analyze airway care to understand survivability for COVID-19 patients, and worked with a large academic medical center in the US to develop a tool that used physiological data for early identification of sepsis. As a clinician dedicated to patient-centered care, Kathleen tries never to lose sight of the fact that technology is a means, not an end. A focus on data and technology guide the “real-world” of patients and caregivers.
Kathleen holds a BS in nursing from South Dakota State University, and advanced degrees from the University of Utah, including a masters in physiology, a masters as an adult/family nurse practitioner, and a doctorate in nursing practice. She was on faculty at Westminster College and is currently adjunct nursing faculty at the University of Utah. She also serves on the board of directors for the Emergency Department Benchmarking Alliance.
Outside of her work life, Kathleen enjoys coaching young women in the community, helping them to understand the value of education and opportunities in technology. She enjoys cycling, cooking, quilting, and reading. But she believes the biggest impact she can make is with her 6 talented granddaughters, as she shares her example and work experiences.