The Role of IT Engineering

A couple of years ago we separated our “technology division” into two groups: IT Engineering and IT Operations. The dividing line between the two is the production environment. Any new technology is architected by our Engineering group before it goes into production. Once something is in production it belongs to IT Operations and it cannot be touched without going through the change management process.

Here is an example of the IT Engineering group doing a good job:

All IT organizations are seeing a mounting desire for employees to use their own devices (especially iPads) in the workplace. When I recognized that this demand would be huge, I began advocating to connect Android and iOS devices to our Exchange Server via AtciveSync I went to the Engineering team, who is charged with evaluating new technologies before they go into production.

To their credit they said that the vanilla approach to device connectivity would not meet our security expectations. They told me that the only way we could safely manage employee owned devices would be through a device management system that would sandbox the organization’s data, protecting it from security flaws, malware and poor user security practices. They also told me that this would only cover the Exchange connectivity use case and that any other use cases would require further analysis (and perhaps additional expense).

I was disheartened to learn about the added cost, but I would much rather surface that with our executives so we can make a fully informed decision rather than spring a surprise expense on them later.

IT in Radiology Departments

Radiology IT is a more challenging area than other helathcare IT systems. The Radiologists (and cardiologists) rightly want to be very involved in the selection of the systems that they interact with. Many of them sit in front of these computer systems all day and something as nuanced as the placement of a button can have a great impact on their productivity and overall satisfaction. In this regard, trying to select a mutually acceptable Radiology IT system is much like standardization of orthopedic implants or surgical sutures.

eMail Stats for Our Health Care System

Over the last 3 years the number of email users at the organizations I serve (Ministry Health Care and Affinity Health System) has increased 17%. In 2008 we had 15,900 mailboxes. Today we have 18,578 mailboxes.

Over that same period our total email storage has increased from 1.5 Terabytes to 5.6 Terabytes. That is a 273% increase.

Interestingly, the top 7% of the mailboxes (1,300) account for 55% of the total storage. My mailbox is the 88th largest (5.3 Gb), this includes deleted and sent items, which I cling to.

These cool stats are courtesy of our Data Center Manager, Dave Roggenbauer and Pete Leonard, System Administrator.