Travis Gordon – Hospital IT
35 years old; Married, two children; Bachelor’s degree in computer science; Works Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, with rotating schedule of on-call nights, weekends and holidays.
As a member of the hospital information technology team, Travis has worked in a clinical environment for eight years and is the frontline point of contact for his hospital’s end users as well as the primary contact with the hospital’s IT vendors. He is responsible for day-to-day end user support, and he is a member of teams that support different short-term and long-term projects. He’s able to shift gears when interacting with end users who have various levels of knowledge and experience.
Travis has advanced vendor training, customer service experience, project management experience and troubleshooting skills. Most people are happy to see him coming because he is a problem solver for the end users, but the IT department is usually viewed as a source of complaints because it doesn’t allow for much personalization of the EHR.
"I get pulled in many different directions. For example, we got one day’s notice before an entire unit moved offices, and we needed to cover moving all the terminals, networking and equipment."
“How is this new HIT regulation going to impact my day-to-day?”
“Every time I ‘fix’ it, an update breaks it.”
“The clinicians I work with aren’t very good at describing their issues with this technology in terms that are familiar to me and my IT support colleagues. Doctors just tell me to ‘fix it’.”
“I want the software applications to talk to each other.”
- Get through one day without having to put out an IT-related fire.
- Focus on specific software components/functions/applications.
- Monitor and maintain all interfaces.
- Help make sure meaningful use requirements are being met.
- Support and pass knowledge on to ‘super users.’
- Keep end users happy.
- Improve patient safety.
- Keep costs down in department and organization, and keep user satisfaction up.
- Help improve clinical workflow and increase satisfaction.
- Reduce help desk calls from end users.
- Support and maintain an effective/efficient system.
- Job security and career advancement.
- Participate in continuing education to stay updated on vendor upgrades and enhancements.
- Earn master’s degree.
Typical Problems Faced on the Job
- Not enough end user training keeps support workload high.
- Difficult to get buy-in on major changes.
- Most technical staff have little background knowledge of the clinical workflows they are supporting.
- Project prioritization (everything is important).
- Must work in/maintain multiple technical system environments.
- Ability/need to keep notes on tips and tricks used to configure each system.
- Trying to customize EHR to be more usable without usability knowledge.
- Updates impact hospital’s configuration.
- Swamped with requests from clinicians for data entry forms.
- Little involvement in evaluation and purchasing of new IT systems at the care setting.
- Stuck between privacy/security concerns and clinician access to data.
- Living between what HIT can do and what physicians want.
- Constrained by third-party systems.
- Users can customize the system in ways that are not beneficial to them, and IT gets blamed.