/may 25, 2022

Musings of a Former State CTO Part 1: The Origin Story

By Veracode

For decades, Claire Bailey has crusaded to combat threats to IT devices and networks. Her journey began in the early 1980s when a devastating personal experience inspired her to improve the system.

Claire’s father died of a heart attack in 1980 amid a heatwave hitting their rural Texas town. The hospital system had recently transitioned to a new model in which emergent patients were seen by dedicated ER doctors, rather than personal or family doctors being summoned in to treat them. As a result, Claire’s father was seen by an ER doctor who was unfamiliar with him and made a snap judgment that he was likely experiencing discomfort due to the heat or had eaten something bad. He was sent home, despite his requests to stay. A few hours after his discharge, Claire’s father passed away.

The family entered into a legal dispute with the ER doctor and the hospital, and in the course of discovery, a deposition revealed that the ER doctor didn’t have access to her father’s physical medical records. Had the doctor reviewed those records, he’d have known that Claire’s father had recently seen a heart specialist, an insight that could have resulted in a different outcome.

Determined to improve the system, Claire reconfigured her academic trajectory from studying English and Journalism to Computer Science. Thus began her personal mission to improve access to medical records – electronic medical records, specifically. She’s been in the technology industry ever since – now as the Regional Vice President of Governmental Affairs for Veracode.

Over the course of her career, Claire also served as Director of the Arkansas Department of Information Systems and State Chief Technology Officer (CTO). At the time of her leaving, she was one of the longest-serving state technology executives in the country with 23 years of service behind her.

During her tenure as CTO, Claire’s customers included state agencies, boards and commissions, schools and higher education administrative departments, as well as cities, counties, and other members of the public safety community. She played an integral role in the implementation of the Arkansas Wireless Information Network, increasing the ease and efficiency of emergency communications, as well as in the development of Arkansas.gov, widely regarded as one of the top state web portals in the country. And she still continues to fight for access to medical care, while serving on the State of Arkansas’ Health Information Exchange group.

“Good things happen, and bad things happen. I believe in making sure that the bad are reviewed and evaluated in a way that can be utilized to make a difference,” Claire says. “We can change things for the better by using what we learn.”

Stay tuned for more of Claire’s story over the next several weeks and learn how she channeled her experiences to improve the world of cybersecurity and visit our government-specific page for information on our tailored application security solutions.

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