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IN IT TOGETHER: Shifting quickly to meet the technology needs of Niagara Health during COVID

Posted Jul 23rd, 2020

IN IT TOGETHER: Shifting quickly to meet the technology needs of Niagara Health during COVID

This is part of a series of stories profiling members of the Niagara Health team and the work they are doing as part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meet Kathy Newport, a Business Systems Analyst with our Information and Communications Technology Team.

Kathy Newport, a Business Systems Analyst with our Information and Communications Technology Team based out of the Welland Site, works with departments across Niagara Health to ensure they have the technical support they need to provide extraordinary care to our patients. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, these needs shifted and did so quickly.

Kathy and her colleagues shifted their focus to develop solutions for several COVID initiatives requiring technology. This included a real-time surveillance dashboard, electronic screening tools and technology needed in our COVID-19 Assessment Centres.

Our care teams also began placing an increased focus on virtual care, ensuring our patients received high-quality, safe care, while reducing traffic in and out of the hospital. The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Team made sure these teams had the technology needed to conduct these visits.

What is the role of ICT at Niagara Health?

Our Operations Team supports day-to-day requests and maintenance tasks, including managing incidents and ensuring our systems are secure.

The Transformation Team assesses and implements new initiatives. The team manages everything from the time the request comes in, to finding and implementing the final product.

What's the biggest change you've noticed in your team since the pandemic?

We really came together as a team, working toward the same goals with a more focused effort. This helped us to quickly assess and respond to requests for new technology needed to continue providing care to our patients during the pandemic.

We had the opportunity to showcase our skills and expertise, providing solutions that will become part of our organization permanently moving forward.

What precautions have you and your team taken to help keep yourselves safe during the pandemic?

When possible, meetings moved to a virtual setting and many of us shifted to working from home. When on-site, we continue to follow safety precautions set out by our Infection Prevention and Control Team, including masking, proper hand hygiene, physical distancing and staying home if sick.

What's the most challenging part about working during the pandemic?

Keeping focus with many competing priorities is often a challenge, but I continue to lend support and expertise to the team where I can.

As well, working from home while supporting my daughter's needs and online learnings has been a balancing act. Though it's challenging, I try to keep a positive outlook in stressful times – we have been successful so far.

Did the pandemic provide any opportunities for your team?

We got the opportunity to work more closely with other departments and external partners during this time, strengthening our relationships.

There are also many projects that we've worked on that will continue to make a positive impact on the organization going forward.

How do you wind down after work?

I enjoy doing yoga, jogging and swimming in my backyard pool.  I try to find creative things to do around the house and take a break from reading the news, as it can be overwhelming.

Niagara Health System