This month’s spotlight shines on Isobel Ndoro (@Isobel_Ndoro), information communication technology consultant for Terry Computer Services in South Africa, and host of the #healthITchicks tweet chat on Wednesday, June 20 at 1pm ET.
What prompted you to enter – and stay in – the health IT field?
Back in March 2004, I was in labor and had to wait at the reception at Belvedere Maternity Hospital in Zimbabwe because I had to write my details before being admitted, even though I had already booked five months earlier. Apparently, my records or file could not be found. I had to wait at the reception while they searched through their manual filing system for my file. This was in my third year of university studies, during my IT internship.
The following year when I went back to finish the final year of my B.Sc. Honors Degree in Information Technology, one of the graduation requirements was that I had to design, develop and deploy an IT system in an organization of my choosing, so l decided to develop a Maternity Hospital Booking System for the hospital I had been to the previous year, to help them increase efficiency and response times by storing their patients records electronically.
My experience motivated me to develop a booking system that was patient-friendly for expecting mothers and user-friendly – secure and with fast response times – for admissions staff.
Has your work in the field helped to improve patient care? How?
The booking system I developed for Belvedere Maternity Hospital had these benefits:
- Faster response time when midwives search for patient records, reducing queues and patients’ waiting time.
- In case of labor complications, midwives can access patient medical histories, which can provide critical, life-saving information as they wait for the gynecologist.
- Minimized errors.
What health IT development or product has you excited about its potential to improve care access/quality/cost, etc.?
3D-printed prosthetics for kids. An organization is delivering 3D-printed hands to kids in need, transforming lives all over the world. The ‘e-Nable’ community is a global network of volunteers for kids who need upper limb assistance. It has delivered more than 1,500 3D-printed hands free of charge, enabling kids to ride a bike or swim – all so that kids can just be kids no matter their circumstances.
The #healthITchicks community believes strongly in doing good and giving back. What are your favorite ways to give back, personally and/or professionally?
I donate to two charities monthly – WWF South Africa and NSRI. World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF -South Africa) supports more than 100 projects that are organized into 10 programs focusing on international and national priorities. These programs are marine, freshwater, grasslands, fynbos [fine-leaved plants/vegetation], conservation education, Succulent Karoo [a desert ecoregion], forests, species, climate change and toxics.
National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) is a charity that saves lives on South African waters through education, prevention and rescue.
Every time I swipe my MySchool Support card, a percentage is given back on my behalf by MySchool Support to South African schools in need, SPCAs, orphanages, charities and shelters that take care of vulnerable children.
I am the founder of the WhatsApp group called the Ladies’ Giggles. Its main goal is to relieve stress by sharing jokes and giggling. Women come together to share coping strategies, to feel more empowered and for a sense of community. We allow each other to vent out the frustrations, sadness, and anger that arise as a result of fertility, work, career and relationship issues.
Professionally, as a project administrator, I recruited students from disadvantaged communities for internships/learnerships sponsored by Hewlett-Packard South Africa Limited (HP) and the Gauteng City Region Academy. I would mentor and counsel the interns.
When it comes to personal and professional development, who or what has had the biggest impact on yours?
In terms of career advice for younger colleagues, what do you wish you had known then that you know now?
“Be careful of perceiving greener grass. It isn’t always. Educate yourself about the new position/company/career. Be very clear on your personal goals and make sure any change is consistent with those goals and your values. Take advantage of many free sources out there, including webinars, chats, and your local library.” – Tom Reid #GoalChat
Teamwork is strength, as backed by this video.
What are you looking forward to chatting about during the #healthITchicks tweet chat on June 20?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of social media in healthcare?
- In what ways is social media being used by healthcare professionals?
- What are the best apps for healthcare?
- In what ways are digital health tools empowering patients?
- What are the advantages or disadvantages of interoperability?
- Applying Social Media to Value-Based Care
- The State of Interoperability in Healthcare
- Top 5 Ways Social Media is Used by Healthcare Professionals
Just for fun: What is your favorite place to travel to?
In 2009, l was an ICT trainer conducting onsite training for Total South Africa around the country. When l was assigned to train in Durban for a week, the project administrator booked my accommodation at Royal Palm Gateway Hotel, which is situated in the center of Palm Boulevard, directly opposite the Gateway Theatre of Shopping on Umhlanga Ridge.
I love mixing business with pleasure and meeting new people, therefore Gateway Theatre of Shopping is the best place for me since it is the ultimate fashion, entertainment and dining destination in Durban. With over 390 stores, 70 eateries and a host of exciting entertainment, it makes it my favorite getaway place since there are so many fun activities for my son, Tyrecea, to do. The Indian Ocean beachfront is just 2 kilometers away.
It is close to various attractions such as the Mangrove Swamps, Umhlanga Lighthouse, Hawaan Forests and Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Trail. King Shaka International Airport is a 15-minute drive away, which makes it convenient for business trips and when travelling with my son.