Using data to maximize hospital resources

Jessica Hallman
May 01, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As a student in Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology, Steve Ney, class of 2010, learned critical skills, from coding to data design and architecture. Today, he applies that foundation in his "dream job" as a healthcare data analyst for Geisinger Health, where he uses those skills to help produce visual outputs for doctors and staff to utilize in caring for patients. That work is especially important in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak.

Steve Ney

Steve Ney

IMAGE: Provided

"Data is the engine that drives the business logistics and has been vital in ensuring that the hospital's resources have been (or will be) maximized during the pandemic," he said.

Read more about Ney’s experiences as a student in and now alumnus of the College of IST in this Q&A.

Q: What drew you to Penn State and the College of IST as a student?

Ney: I still remember that when I was a kid my grandparents would take me to Penn State for football games. I remember seeing family members who had gone there for their education and how much passion they had for the school. These experiences instilled in me an expectation of what I could do when it was time for me to come to Penn State. Now as an adult, I continue to be drawn back to Penn State for various events. We now come to visit not only for football games, but also for softball games, wrestling matches, hockey games and We Are Weekend.

I was drawn to the College of IST when I read about the different types of careers and impacts graduates could have. The curriculum of the College really played into my strong suits and it has truly turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Q: Which class, teacher or lesson made the biggest impact on you, and how?

Ney: The class I remember most was IST240, database fundamentals. I fell in love with how databases operate and what they can be used for. Another class I had taken that really expanded my love for databases was discrete mathematics. It might be a bit geeky but learning how to logically work with elements in a set was a mental challenge that I found both difficult and rewarding.

Q: What is your current career, and what do you do on a daily basis?

Ney: Currently I am a healthcare data analyst for Geisinger Health. On a daily basis, I do any number of different tasks, everything from developing code to producing visual outputs for our doctors and staff to use to take better care of our patients. I also produce business intelligence reports and participate with medical research studies. My primary reporting responsibilities are for the orthopaedics department.

Q: Knowing that you work in health insurance informatics, how has the COVID-19 outbreak impacted your day-to-day responsibilities, at all?

Ney: Due to some internal re-organization, I was transferred from being a health insurance data analyst to become an orthopaedic data analyst. I have the same responsibilities and day-to-day activities as before; except the subject matter I report on now is different.

The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted our hospital in numerous ways. Our team has been instrumental in producing data accurately and timely to our leadership to enable them to make the best decisions possible. Data is the engine that drives the business logistics and has been vital in ensuring that the hospital’s resources have been (or will be) maximized during the pandemic.

Q: How did the College of IST prepare you for your career?

Ney: The College of IST has given me the skills I needed to have the opportunity to be in the position I am in today. I count my current job as my dream job. I have been working and striving for many years to be able to find myself in such a wonderful position. I utilize various IST skills daily: project management, data design and architecture, problem solving, technical skills, coding and many more.

Q: Why do you choose to volunteer for the IST Alumni Society Board?

Ney: The biggest reason I chose to volunteer for the board is to pay forward all the help I was given and to do whatever small part I can do to help those who will come after me. I was fortunate enough to have received scholarship funds while I was earning my degree and so my number one objective to accomplish during my time on the board is to get our endowment established and funded.

Q: Why would you encourage other alumni to reengage with the college in their alumni years?

Ney: I think it is very important for alumni to re-engage with the College because of the sense of community that can be achieved. When you engage as an alum, there are no small contributions you can give. Spending a few hours as a mentor or attending a networking event can have lasting impacts which are too often overlooked but are not inconsequential.

Q: What is your advice to current and future students in the college?

Ney: You are going to be equipped with some of the best tools in the industry when you graduate from the College of IST. The diversity of skills and abilities will only broaden the horizon of careers and opportunities that you will have. Don’t ever be afraid to work hard and don’t be discouraged by setbacks. The College of IST will teach you how to handle any problem and overcome any situation or challenge that you may face.

Q: Is there any additional information you would like to share?

Ney: One thing I would like to share is that it is important to realize that with an education in the College of IST, you will not be limited to any one industry to pursue a career in. Your options are truly limitless. If you want to work on robotics that assist a disabled person to overcome their challenges, you can do that. If you want to run a network of drones, you can do that. If you want to do medical research, data science in the finance field, or even help farmers be more efficient, you can do those things too. Only you will limit yourself with the things you can do!

Last Updated May 04, 2020