When you hear the words “information systems,” the first thing you probably envision is the basement of Wayson Pavilion. A space filled with computers, boxes piled on top of each other and the sound of incessant typing and clicking as our team of techs work on solving the next work ticket in queue. You probably also hear a steady hum of chatter as they talk into their headpieces assisting callers with questions or problems.
All of these mental pictures are correct. Throw in there some numbers, a couple of emails and mix it with dedication, passion and commitment. “What folks don’t see behind the scenes is that we’re all champions,” says Monica Creek, systems analyst and September Champion Award winner. “Our world in IS goes beyond just sitting at a desk and looking at a computer. We have to figure out the best ways to make life easier, make things more meaningful and make the patient experience much easier when they come in the door.”
Before joining Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC), Monica was training as a medical assistant in Arlington, Va. She also trained as a nursing assistant, but that venture didn’t last too long. “I went for my first clinical procedure where I had to demonstrate certain competencies,” she recalls. “While I was doing an incision and drainage with a patient, he started to scream and I started to get butterflies in my stomach. That’s when the physician there with me confirmed I was not going to be a nurse.”
Today she laughs about it and is grateful for the experience. Her medical field experience, paired with her love for administrative tasks and analytical thinking, are skills that have led Monica to find her dream job. After getting tired of hours spent commuting, Monica decided it was time to move closer to home and look for new opportunities. Shortly after applying to AAMC, she received a call and, ultimately, the position. “I understand the concept of day-to-day patient care, though I’m not a nurse,” she says. “Sometimes that clinical aspect helps me make the picture more real for the other analysts I work.”
The analytics world is not only about data. Monica and her team use analytics to solve all sorts of problems, whether it’s improving discharge turnaround times so patients can leave the hospital and go home in a timely fashion or making workflows more meaningful for staff.
“Being a system analyst can be very challenging because you need to understand operationally the application you support as well as the lives of our caregivers,” Monica says. “Coming back every day to keep trying to solve issues is what brings me the greatest joy in what I do. Health care is very complex and there’s never one solution for every single thing. I enjoy coming to work knowing that we still have to work on this and that it’s not about applying a Band-Aid to a situation.”
Pro tip: “Jump at every moment that comes your way. Try it and, if you don’t like it, take ‘door number two.’ I’m a single mom and I teach that to my children every single day. Don’t get caught up in what went wrong, think about how you can make things better. That’s my philosophy. Who cares if we made a mistake? If we were all perfect, we wouldn’t be here.”