The spark that led to the creation of Intermountain ROMS® occurred more than 18 years ago, when Stephen Hunter was enjoying a day off from work with his friend, Intermountain colleague and fellow physical therapist, Gerard Brennan. That afternoon, Gerard asked a seemingly straightforward question: “Stephen, how good is the physical therapy you provide at Intermountain Healthcare?”

Stephen was proud of Intermountain Physical Therapy and its commitment to providing high quality patient care, but also recognized that Gerard’s question had a double meaning. Gerard actually meant, “Is there objective data demonstrating that Intermountain Physical Therapy delivers effective care that both improves patients’ conditions and results in high patient satisfaction?”

To this question, Stephen’s answer was no – bringing to light the immediate need for such a tool. With the help of data expert Lee Pierce, the innovative tool that resulted from that conversation – Intermountain ROMS® – is now helping improve outcomes and reduce costs for thousands of therapy patients, both inside and outside Intermountain Healthcare.

Our Team

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Gerard Brennan, Senior Research Scientist

Gerard Brennan has practiced physical therapy for 40 years. For the past 20 years, his practice has been located within a primary care health center at Intermountain Healthcare. He has worked closely with Primary Care and Spine Specialist Physicians in the management of patients with lower back pain (LBP).

He is a Senior Research Scientist and the Director of Clinical Quality and Outcomes Research at Intermountain's Rehabilitation Services. In this role, Dr. Brennan is charged with improving the quality of clinical care on a continuing basis. His responsibilities include developing and supervising ongoing efforts in physical therapy to measure and track standard condition-specific, patient self-report measures. This is done for approximately 12,000 patients per year spanning multiple locations across Utah using an online intranet application.

Dr. Brennan has led several randomized trials, as well as quality improvement, observational, and practice-based studies. He was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in a multi-centered randomized trial to examine the treatment effect and cost effectiveness of exercise and manual therapy in patients with knee pain due to osteoarthritis. He also helped to lead a second AHRQ trial at Intermountain and the University of Utah that examined the effectiveness of early access to physical therapy for patients with LBP. This trial was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Currently, Dr. Brennan is overseeing a large, multi-site trial at Intermountain that is being funded by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). The trial is examining targeted interventions and their ability to prevent chronic low back pain in high-risk patients.


Stephen Hunter, Rehab Services Director

Stephen Hunter received his bachelor of arts in physical therapy from University of Utah in 1984, and his clinical doctorate in 2008. He began working for Intermountain Healthcare in 1984. He is board certified in orthopedic physical therapy. Currently, Mr. Hunter continues to treat patients and is also an administrator over 12 outpatient orthopedic physical therapy clinics.

Stephen has been involved in clinical and quality improvement research since 1986. He was on the principle team that developed ROMS (Rehabilitation Outcomes Management System) and has been instrumental in implementing ROMS into all Intermountain physical therapy clinics. He has authored or co-authored several articles establishing the value of physical therapy.


Lee Pierce, Chief Data Officer

Lee Pierce, BS, MIS, is the Chief Data Officer at Intermountain Healthcare. He is currently accountable for the development of Intermountain’s analytics infrastructure, data governance efforts, business intelligence development, and coordination of analytics and data science services throughout the enterprise. Lee has over 20 years of experience in healthcare IT, specializing in business intelligence, data warehousing, data architecture, and BI/Data Governance.

Previous to his current assignment, Lee was the Assistant Vice President of BI and Analytics and Director of Intermountain’s Enterprise Data Warehouse. In this role he managed and coordinated business intelligence analysts throughout Intermountain. He has also served many years as a data warehouse developer, creating analytic solutions for clinical quality improvement initiatives.

Lee frequently consults with other healthcare organizations on Analytics. Lee is the previous chairman and incorporator of the Healthcare Data and Analytics Association, a national non-profit organization with 300+ member healthcare organizations.

Lee received a Bachelor’s of Science from Brigham Young University, and a Master’s Degree in Information Systems Management from Utah State University.


Jeremy Porter, Director of Intermountain Innovations

As a veteran of running and hiking injuries, Jeremy is a frequent visitor to physical therapy clinics. Having first-hand knowledge of the value of ROMS as a patient, he thought he might as well try to apply some of his 12 years of post-MBA work experience to supporting ROMS.

Those 12 years following graduation from the Stanford Graduate School of Business have included seven years at a design-focused, venture-backed, building materials company where he developed complementary business and product lines associated with the core building material, and five years as the Director of the Intermountain Innovations group at Intermountain Healthcare. As the Director of the Intermountain Innovations group, Jeremy works on a variety of business and commercial opportunities that support Intermountain's mission.

When he isn’t hiking or camping in the mountains with his family, Jeremy mostly does dishes and reads to his three young kids.