Women in Tech: Featuring Sue-Ellen Brogden, Wellstar Health System

From database queries to tech support, from budget analysis to project management, from inputting data to security administration, Sue-Ellen Brogden has it covered for Wellstar Health System as their Senior Systems Analyst. She is a technology Renaissance woman, or in tech speak, she is Renaissance 2.0.

On her journey to tech

I was studying Industrial Engineering, and I had a friend who was providing tech support. I was working at a real estate company, and they had a PC with word processing and spreadsheet software on it, but no one used it. One day I asked my boss if I could try converting what we did manually each month to the computer. I started reading manuals, doing things, and calling my tech support friend with questions. In about 2 months, I had converted our processes, and what had taken us 5 days to do each month, now only took us about 1.5 days to do.

While still in college, I started working part time at Kennestone Hospital and at the same time also got a co-op job doing national tech support. I quickly became the top call closer among all the co-op students. I closed more calls each month than all but one of the full-time tech support employees! By the time I got my bachelor's degree, I knew I wanted to do tech support in healthcare. The hospital IT director offered me a full-time job. I took it and have loved doing healthcare IT ever since.

About 20 years ago, the IT department was moved off the hospital campus to a support building. I missed the hospital atmosphere, so when a position opened for an IT person to be the on-campus Systems Analyst for the Nutrition and Food Services department, I took it and have loved every minute of it for the last 13 years.

On the future of auxiliary enterprise technology

I see patients being able to remotely access their medical record with all their diagnoses, DNA, and latest lab results and then access a module where they can play with recipes and meal selections to see what would be good for them to eat, based on their specific information. That will be a fun, yet informative way to educate folks on nutrition related to their specific combination of health issues and how they are doing at that point in time.

Her favorite part of her job

I like knowing I've helped others get through their day more easily—either by showing them how to do something within an application or by being able to provide them with data pulled from an application for them to use in their PI (project improvement) efforts.

Communication is the key

Being able to communicate with a diverse group of people in words they understand is vital to my position. You need to be able to talk to the person who barely speaks English, as well as to the person with a master's degree and to the IT technical employees. You need to use business language for the managers and "geek speak" for the IT technical folks. Then you need to be able to explain to each group what the other group just said. (Editor's note: This one made us all laugh out loud.)

Advice for other women in healthcare technology

Keep learning. Technology keeps changing; healthcare keeps changing. It is a constantly changing environment in every way possible. Keep learning and sharing with others what you have learned.