With more than 1,200 staff, the Information Management and Technology Services (IMITS) team at PHSA is responsible for ensuring that all staff and medical staff have access to the data and technology needed to keep B.C. health services up and running. In honour of System Administrator Appreciation Day, we’re putting the spotlight on a few of these unsung heroes.
When he’s not enjoying the outdoors with family, or tinkering with home renos, Horst and his team are working hard to ensure PHSA staff are connected virtually. As the provincial manager of messaging at IMITS, Horst oversees the messaging team that supports email, Skype, Microsoft Teams and video conferencing infrastructure across the organization.
With over 22 years of experience in health care, Horst has seen a lot of change but none as significant as those during the COVID-19 pandemic. His team was greatly impacted, seeing incidents and requests for service increase by 40 percent, which meant a round-the-clock effort to support PHSA staff.
“We are fortunate to have an amazing team of intelligent, reliable and dedicated professionals,” says Horst.
For Horst, System Administrator Appreciation Day is an opportunity to highlight those behind-the-scenes who are working to ensure health care in B.C. is up and running.
“The fact that you don't have to worry about your email or Skype crashing every day or your remote access not working is us doing our job in the background. It might not seem like much, but we’re doing a whole lot of things to keep everything together so you don't see any impact during your work day.”
Avid book reader and video-game aficionado, Chris Fleeton is the provincial manager of identity services at IMITS. His passion for information technology was sparked while interning at a cousin’s software development company. Shortly after, he found himself working in health care where he has been for 28 years.
“We live in a very IT-integrated, technology-based society. In health care, that's become much more noticeable. Throughout my career, I’ve seen significant changes in how health care depends on the technology it uses,” says Chris.
Chris and his team primarily maintain the active directory—a technology that enables PHSA staff to log in to workstations and access the data and applications they use every day. A small but mighty team of five, Chris' team supports all of the health authorities across the province.
“Everything we do, whether it's making improvements or fixing something, we try to do it in the background so there is no noticeable impact. It might not sound very exciting, but people have come to expect these core functionalities and the reality is, most of our systems rely on these technologies to function correctly,” says Chris.
For Chris, System Administrator Appreciation Day is an opportunity to recognize the staff who help ensure our technologies are working, reliable and available.
As the provincial manager of remote applications at IMITS, Mark is responsible for all the applications that are delivered via Citrix, remote access and virtual private network (VPN). When he’s not busy brainstorming innovative solutions for remote work, you can find Mark up in the mountains or taking his Harley out for a whirl.
“When I joined PHSA, remote systems were not in place, there was no corporate VPN, bring-your-own-device, or work-from-home solution. Coincidentally, my team and I began building out a new, scalable solution to address some of these issues right before the pandemic,” says Mark.
Currently, Mark and his team are working toward the next generation of remote access at PHSA, collaborating with leaders to determine how best to enable more applications, functionalism and flexibility.
“The pandemic really bumped us into the future in terms of support for developing better remote solutions. And the impact is noticeable – it couldn’t be more black and white in terms of how much happier and more productive my team is. We look forward to continuing to build on all of the progress we’ve made.”
For Mark, System Administrator Appreciation Day is a day to show appreciation for the teams that support and keep the hospitals running from a technical standpoint.
Interested in building a career in IT where you can be at the forefront of technology and healthcare? Head over to jobs.phsa.ca/IT where you can find the latest opportunities and apply.