Career Tips

Spartan Insights: A Linkedin Discussion. Featuring Rick Stankiewicz, CIO/Senior I.T. Executive.

This week’s featured Spartan was Richard (Rick) Stankiewicz, Chief Information Officer/Senior I.T. Executive. Richard offered to answer any questions about his background, occupation, industry, or company, and any other professional topics Spartans are interested in. This conversation was open in the MSUALUMNI Linkedin group from 01/13/2015 until 01/28/2015.

Spartan Insights is a regularly scheduled Linkedin discussion thread inside of the MSUALUMNI Linkedin group. Each discussion is meant to give you the opportunity to ask questions regarding one Spartan’s experience within a specific company, industry, or occupation. Answers will be given at the convenience and discretion of the featured Spartan and will be answered from the Spartan’s own personal experiences and opinions which are not meant to be representative of his/her company’s official position.

Richard Stankiewicz Senior Manager of Technical Operations and Support: Hello to my fellow Spartans and thank you Dave for providing these opportunities to share our alumni experiences. Since I talked with Dave, I have done what many of you are contemplating and that is getting a new job. Not only did I change jobs but I also relocated from Austin to Grand Rapids. Many people ask me why leave Austin and I would be glad to entertain any questions. My experiences cover a wide range, across many industries, including government, consulting, healthcare and more. Looking forward to talking with you over the next two weeks.
Dave Isbell: Hi Rick, Thanks for offering your help to Spartans in this way! I’ll kick this off with the first question. In the past thirty years there have been a ton of advances in technology. What would you say has been the most relevant I.T. changes for businesses to deal with? (In any sector, but if you want to limit your answer to one, let’s confine it to healthcare.)

Richard Stankiewicz: Hi Dave, Being in the business pre-internet and PC, I would say the miniaturization of computer chips. Now it is taken for granted but at one time cell phones, tablets, GPS devices, video games, and anything digitized would not be possible because of the size to processing requirements.

Dave Isbell: Thanks Rick, How have you seen employers and employees adapt to this change? For example, in the workplace, people can pretty much carry around their computer in their pocket which can lead to being “at work” all the time. On the flip side, all one needs to enjoy hours of Candy Crush, while clock-watching from a cubicle, is a smart phone and a Facebook app. What would you say have been productive policies/ideas that have worked to help make use of the technological changes?

Richard Stankiewicz: Like many executives, I’m on the fence concerning bringing your own devices (BYOD) to work. While it alleviates some costs, it opens up questions on enforcing standards, wiping infected devices, preventing the exposure of sensitive corporate secrets or data. My current policy states that: IT has full access to any device that logs onto our network, has the capability to delete/read anything, and determines standards relating to OS levels, virus prevention tools, allowed/disallowed software. The employee must sign a legal document absolving the company from any liability for using their personal devices. As for wasting time on facebook, candy crush etc. I monitor the usage, when able, and use a policy of “get the work done when expected” versus “must sit at your desk everyday for 8 hours”.

Dave Isbell: It strikes me as odd that at the same time HIPAA was enacted, there was a push to have medical records transmitted online. (Sure, if you want things to stay confidential, you put them on the internet, right?) I’m curious about your perspective on this shift, in particular how it has affected costs within the healthcare industry. What trends have taken root and what do you foresee in the industry for the future, from an I.T./strategic perspective for businesses?

Colleen – Senior Spartan Marketing Student, MSU Alumni Association Student Executive Team Member, and Wedding Enthusiast: Hi Rick, I will be graduating in May with a degree in Marketing. I am currently searching for a job in the San Antonio/Austin, Texas area. I have received a few responses from employers to set up interviews but when I tell them I will not be relocating until after graduation, they simply tell me to call them closer to my move date or after I have relocated. What is your best advice for job searching and interviewing long distance? (Especially when they can interview other candidates currently in Texas face to face?)

Richard Stankiewicz: Hi Colleen, Congratulations on graduating! The San Antonio/Austin area is getting 300-400 people/day moving in. There is no pressure for them to consider out of state applicants. In your application, defuse the issue by offering to do a Skype interview. For the ones that are offering interviews, bi-weekly send them a brief note expressing your interest or include some fact that may interest them. Keep yourself in front of them by distinguishing yourself! If you know anyone there, use them to network into organizations. For job searching, check out the Texas Job Bank. Good Luck on your job hunting.

Richard Stankiewicz: Dave: The transmittal of medical records is dear to my heart because that is what I’m doing. Originally, many Health Information Exchanges (HIE) were created to transmit medical records. I believe that just three remain in Michigan with Great Lakes Health Connect (GLHC) being the largest. Records are being transmitted between hospitals, physician offices, State of Michigan etc through highly encrypted tunnels. These records include Lab reports, radiology charts, acceptance/discharge/transfer (ADT) and more. HIPPA and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) highly regulates data transmissions with fines exceeding $5000/record exposed. One data breach can bankrupt a company. The trend is for all facilities in Michigan to be interconnected followed by connectivity between various states and finally across the county.

Dave Isbell: I’m pretty certain that the large hospitals (for an example) have an I.T. staff to deal with the I.T. issues, but I wonder if you have any words of wisdom for how the small, private practitioner might be able to affordably tackle things like setting up a network, maintaining, security, etc. (I can’t imagine that doctors get trained in medical school on how to pick the best software and computer systems!)

Richard Stankiewicz: In Michigan, the large hospitals have incentives by various agencies to provide certain percentages of electronic records to their practitioners. The large facilities are picking up some of the cost and the private practitioner should query the hospitals that they get the most patients from. As far as IT support, I would recommend enlisting a local company that provides service on a Fee for Service bases and is HIPPA/PHI certified. DO NOT get involved in yearly contracts without evaluating cost versus usage.

Kristen – Michigan State Graduate: Hi Rick, I’m interviewing with [a large hospital system] as an administrative assistant in the IT department. Just wondering if you could weigh in on any info I should know or any questions I should ask during my meeting. I appreciate any help you can give me.

Richard Stankiewicz: Hi Kristen, Expect to be supporting 3-5 executives. Most likely the CIO and Director of IT being two of them. Sparrow is known for being hard on their employees. Not trying to scare you off however, it will be demanding. Most people in IT are driven by what they know and do. They can be weak on documentation, technical writing and in general paperwork. We just don’t like it!. Listen when they are talking and absolutely send a thank you email/letter afterwords. Give them additional information on what you can do for them personally to take on work that they don’t like. They will appreciate it. I like to ask the question: What are some of the thinks that you don’t like to do in your job. Then show them that you are the perfect choice to compliment them. It’s a game where you are trying to see what they need without giving them a reason to dismiss you. Also, make it into a discussion where you don’t talk all the time. Prepare questions where you have a response to anything they say like: In my previous job I was commended on assisting my boss with budgeting, cost analysis, vendor relations, …. are these things that I can help you with? Good luck and let me know if I can assist you in the future.

Dave Isbell: Thanks Rick for helping Spartans in this way and thank you to each of you who participated in this discussion! At this time, the discussion has been closed. I invite you to view this and all past Spartan Insights discussions on the “featured Spartans” tab at Go Green!

Tune in for future “Spartan Insights” discussions in the MSUALUMNI group on Linkedin. Our next “featured Spartan” will be Tiffany Gaston, Human Resources, for Marathon Oil from 02/03/15 until 02/12/15. Ask her anything you want to about her company, industry, occupation, etc.!


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