Attributing much of her success to her work ethic and her ability to find creative solutions to problems, Denise A. Irons, MBA, first earned a Bachelor of Science in zoology from the University of Rhode Island in 1982. She went on to obtain medical technology certification from the American Society for Clinical Pathology at the Rhode Island Hospital in 1983 and began her career as a medical technologist with the William W. Backus Hospital in 1984. In 1987, she held the same role at Yale New Haven Hospital, where she worked as she completed her Master of Business Administration in marketing and marketing management at the University of New Haven, graduating in 1990. Ms. Irons then became the customer support systems specialist for Abbott Laboratories from 1990 to 1991.
From 1991 to 1993, Ms. Irons worked as a client services manager and field services manager for Damon Clinical Laboratories. During this time, she had the exciting opportunity to be selected to do the blood draws for the pre-season health checks for the Dallas Cowboys, as the team physician was one of their clients. Following this, she joined the Zale Lipshy University Hospital, where she served as the laboratory supervisor from 1993 to 1997. During this time, she also worked as a sales executive for Clinical Pathology Laboratories from 1994 to 1996 and as a project manager for NLFC Inc. from 1996 to 1997. Ms. Irons subsequently served as a senior applications specialist with the Cerner Corporation from 1997 to 1999 and as a regional laboratory manager for the Saint Vincent Hospital Laboratory from 1999 to 2003.
Ms. Irons spent 2004 to 2005 as an independent laboratory consultant before joining the UMass Memorial Medical Center Laboratory, where she was the manager of applications and laboratory information systems from 2005 to 2006 before becoming the director of applications and laboratory information systems until 2010. She then joined SCC Soft Computer as a business analyst from 2010 to 2014. Noting that 70% of clinical decisions are made on the basis of lab testing, Ms. Irons has been continually motivated throughout her career by the desire to ensure that all of the lab work she is involved in is done correctly, since the results of lab tests can have such a direct impact on patient care. In that vein, she encourages lab workers to remember the importance of the tests for the patient, particularly since working in a lab means you are more removed from the patient than a doctor or nurse would be.
Since 2014, Ms. Irons has excelled as the director of laboratory information systems with Baystate Health. In her current role, she oversees a team of 20 employees and her department is responsible for the information technology support for all of the Baystate Health laboratories, which provide the labs and testing for the health system’s four hospitals and numerous smaller independent doctors and clinics. Her team maintains interfaces for electronic medical records as well as the laboratory equipment for various important tests both in the lab and on the hospital floor. They are also responsible for updating the software and hardware when necessary. In order to keep abreast of developments in her field, Ms. Irons maintains professional affiliation with the American Society for Clinical Pathology and the Healthcare Information and Management System Society.
With a reputation as a hardworking, driven and optimistic individual, Ms. Irons credits her wide range of experiences in the field for her growth as a professional. She has made a name for herself through her dedication to maintaining her integrity. For her excellence, Ms. Irons was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Professional Organization of Women of Excellence Recognized in 2020, having previously been named a Women of the Month by the organization in December 2019.
Having accomplished much over the years, Ms. Irons considers the most gratifying aspect of her career to be building up her team as the director of information systems at both UMass Memorial and Baystate. She greatly enjoys sharing her knowledge with others and empowering her employees to be independent, which is an approach that allows her to grow her teams into groups of talented individuals that fit the needs of the laboratory information systems department. Ms. Irons would advise young and aspiring professionals to be honest, empathetic and to maintain personal integrity.