>>Unsung Heroes: The IT Department at Prowers Medical Center

Unsung Heroes: The IT Department at Prowers Medical Center

No doubt, you’ve had a run-in or two with your personal computer. It takes commitment to avoid viruses, keep your software up-to-date, back up files, manage your emails and make sure your internet connection is steady. Now imagine doing that on a daily basis for 150 computers, 50 printers, 42 servers and 2 firewalls! That’s what the information technology (IT) team of three is responsible for, along with several other duties.

“Just a few minutes ago we received work ticket number 5000 through our Help Desk system that we set up just over a year ago,” said Jason Spano, Director of the PMC IT Department.

Yes, add meeting requests for service from a staff of nearly 250 employees to the list. Every day, the team backs up all files, supports multiple information systems and software for different departments, completes electronic medical record training and reporting, filters SPAM, maintains an intranet and all phone systems, faxes, printers, paging systems, and many other tasks large and small.

“We also help patients and visitors with their internet needs and train physicians and staff on our various systems. Between the three of us our phones ring almost continuously,” said Misty Corbin, Network Technician with PMC.

The team makes sure the electronic medical records system works well for patients. The system allows patients to view a summary of their visit or stay including vital signs, allergies, procedures, care team, immunizations, concerns, medications, labs and discharge instructions. If you are a patient and haven’t signed up, go to prowersmedical.com.

“The clinic patient portal allows patients and authorized representatives to pay their bill on line, request an appointment, request a summary of their visit and communicate with their provider,” said Kristell Stegman, PMC’s Clinical Informatics Specialist.

As the first informatics specialist for the hospital, Stegman serves as a bit of a gobetween with the clinical team, helping interface the hospital’s computer system with the medication dispensing machines and building electronic forms for patients.

“I love to help people better use the system and help improve electronic workflow to provide better patient care,” Stegman said.

As expected, IT professionals face unique challenges working for a hospital. They must encrypt health information to honor patient privacy rules prescribed by federal HIPAA regulations. They also have to have their systems up and running 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“We devote many man-hours and dollars to compliance with these regulations to keep data private, safe and secure,” Spano said.
Somehow, all the demands on their time and requirement for constant action and expertise doesn’t cloud their enjoyment of their work.

“It’s wonderful to be a part of this organization. The people make it all worth it. We support one another and we all are deeply committed to our patients and visitors,” Corbin said.

Besides all these duties, the team takes turns being on call after hours. Now that’s a group of unsung heroes. If you see them out and about, resist the urge to ask them about a problem with your personal computer. After all, their brains have to rest some time, no matter how much they love the challenge.


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