As a small, independent hospital that serves children and adolescents with complex medical, mental health, and educational needs, Franciscan Children’s is an integral part of Boston’s pediatric medical ecosystem. Like many in the nonprofit sector, its eight-person IT Department is often tasked to do more with less in the management of IT infrastructure, which includes hundreds of servers, computers, and complex medical information systems.
“We handle everything from the TVs in the patient rooms, to the overhead paging system, and all the barcode scanners, everything falls to us,” says Sean McKeon, director of IT at the Brighton hospital.
To help optimize its IT operation, the Hospital partnered with a group of Information Technology and Software Development students from Curry College to conduct an assessment of the Department and provide best practice recommendations in three areas: server management, system image/backup software, and security. The Senior Seminar class also produced a design for a mobile application that will help hospital security oversee parking assignments accordingly. The Capstone project and creation of a professional portfolio are requirements of the program at Curry.
“The IT Department at Franciscan Children’s runs a robust operation. The partnership provided our students a unique and key view into the working world of IT,” says Paul Benoit, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Applied Technology.
Roughly halfway through the spring semester, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Curry and nearly all schools across the country to move classes online. Working from home in Alabama, Vermont, New York, Rhode Island, and other states, the groups of seniors never lost pace with their work. Benoit says managing the project independently from home presented another essential learning opportunity for the students, as the Information Technology sector has long led as a remote work leader.
“This is a great experience for them to learn how to work remotely with a team. I did it for years at IBM, and it’s largely a norm in the industry today, especially for most medium and large-sized corporations that may have offices all over the world.”
The students presented their best practice findings and a design for the new mobile app to McKeon in late April via a Zoom meeting. McKeon and the team applauded the students for their research, analysis, and the design of the new app.
“It’s clear that you put a lot of effort into the project. I like the design, and I can’t wait to see it in action,” McKeon says of the new mobile parking app. “I’ll consider all of their recommendations. We appreciate the work, and it is hugely valuable for us as we make new decisions moving forward.”