Corporate Vision February 2017

72 CORPORATE VISION / February 2017 , Solving Critical Business Problems with Technology and Information Systems Juanita Poelvoorde is an accomplished, software consultant who is currently working with Vancouver Coastal Health to implement software and technology to help them solve their business problems. In this interview, she speaks about her work and how she has successfully dealt with being a woman in amale dominated industry. After having been in software consultancy for over 30 years, Juanita Poelvoorde has substantial experience in helping firms to develop and successfully implement new technology in order for them to solve critical business problems. Juanita discusses her previous experience in the sector. “Most recently, I have been in a project management role. In the first ten years, I was helping the rich get richer; I worked in banks, stock brokerage firms and in statistical analysis around the globe from Manhattan, New York, Los Angeles to Johannesburg, South Africa to Melbourne, Australia. In my second decade, I focused on building and implementing utility billing software as the Vice President of a software company. I decided in my third decade to go back to being a consultant, and working with health authorities including Vancouver Coastal Health in 2005. I mainly focused on developing an emergency services IT strategy, for the Emergency Departments, across 13 sites and implementing the resultant “State of the Art” information technology projects. Juanita explains more about this IT strategy and how she is helping Vancouver Coastal Health to run a more efficient and cost effective service for clients. “At Vancouver Coastal Health, I collected all the business problems across the Emergency Services, developed an IT strategy to support critical business problems and implemented state of the art technology. This involved voice activated communication, wireless computing and online charting. Also, I assisted physicians to develop technology solutions through special funding proposals, for example; built a website for the public to view the live waiting times to see doctors at the Emergency Departments, which was shared with the BC Ambulance Services and also enabled MD TeleHealth services on a BC Nurse Call Line, where patients can call in and get advice from both Nurses and Physicians. “Another implementation project, was upgrading a patient tracking and bed placement software. This was implemented to transport items and patients in the hospital and find the right bed for a patient, at the right location at the right time. I implemented a hardware infrastructure upgrade as well as a software upgrade for 3 hospital sites at VCH and also spoke at a software user’s conference about this successful project.” In a corporate sector which is predominately men, Juanita explains what the challenges are being in a working environment as a woman. “30 years ago, there weren’t a lot of females in the industry. The Canadian education system had stereotypes of women not being successful in math and science, even applying to go to computer science was not really common for women, so there were a lot of the challenges that I’ve faced over the years overcoming some of these pre-conceived ideas. It is very difficult in the technology sector for women to break through. It’s been getting better as the years go on, but it was particularly difficult at the time.” Juanita shares some advice she has for women who are looking to succeed in a competitive industry such as the software and technology sector. “Have a constant learning mode. I don’t think I’ve ever stopped educating myself in terms of researching new technologies, and developing ways of solving critical business problems through information technology solutions. It’s important to have the ability to translate the technical jargon especially in the world of clinicians. “Being able to convert the technology and understanding the benefits of implementing it is important. I have found there is a significant advantage if you can translate technology for people and to get them to understand what the benefits are. Also, partnering with people with vision that support translating those ideas in to practical deployment is key. “There is a lot of fear around implementing new technologies. My advice would to not be intimidated by the technology, choose a lane and apply knowledge to different business problems. The technology landscape is vast, concentration on a specific field and becoming an expert in a certain area will keep opportunities open. There are worldwide opportunities in technology, opportunity to travel round the globe. Another piece of advice would be to try to encourage young girls to enter the industry. Maths and science are not encouraged for girls in school.” BW160062