Dillon Drown knew he wanted to become involved in real-world projects using information systems skills. What he didn’t know is how impactful and beneficial one project he would work on would become.
Through an internship with the IT project management office, Drown was actively involved in completing a project for The University of Toledo Medical Center’s Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center, helping to improve the patient experience.
Drown was offered the opportunity to work on the project through a connection with Teresa Keefe, distinguished university lecturer in the John B. and Lillian E. Neff College of Business and Innovation, and because of his time in the IT department and his work for the Ball State Competition, a case competition for information systems students.
Laura Kern, director of patient access at UTMC, was looking to streamline computer processes for inputting patients’ information for insurance authorization and scheduling at the Dana Cancer Center. She submitted a project request to IT.
Through her appointment in IT’s project management office, Keefe deemed it a good fit to allow a team of students to take on the project.
The team worked to develop a solution for Kern in early 2020, but the project slowed during the pandemic and the team of students graduated before completing their work.
Kern looked to the IT project management office for help identifying a new student to complete the project. Keefe turned to one student, Drown, to complete the project.
Keefe enjoyed watching Drown grow his skills and knew that this project would allow him to advance his skills even further.
“He is a student who wants to learn and isn’t afraid to dig into new technologies,” Keefe said. “He worked with a cross-functional team from the clinical offices, learned the process, learned new technologies and was able to deliver a solution that the team has continued to use.”
Drown worked to redefine the Dana Cancer Center’s needs and found a solution using an automated Microsoft Excel document.
After a semester of work that included a lot of trial and error, he was able to find a solution. He worked with staff members to see what worked and what didn’t for them, changing anything that came up as needing improvement.
“Dillon diligently learned every aspect of the infusion process, which is no small lesson for someone without a healthcare background,” Kern said. “Every time Dillon met with the team, he thoughtfully listened and arrived at system solutions to address.
“I believe his focus on each detail of the process overhaul, and the collaboration of the team, is key to why the technology solution continues to serve the infusion team so well to this day.”
Drown was eager to gain experience with a real-world project while expanding on his personal and professional skills.
“Since this was my first real project outside of classes, I was finally seeing a lot of real-world applications of what was only talked about or given as an example in my learning,” Drown said. “I think a good part of my classes were critical thinking and being able to dissect a problem to find the solution.
“Especially in my later years, I learned how to look at a problem, take it apart to test step by step to find where the issue is and then figure out how to fix that issue.”
Like many other students, Drown’s passion for information systems came with a bit of trial and error to find what he enjoyed most.
Starting as an engineering major, Drown only took one information systems course in myriad other requirements to seal the deal on an interest that turned into a career.
“It was all about technology and how it was used in business,” Drown said. “I found that I enjoyed using and learning new software to problem-solve issues and that the business world has plenty for me to work on, so I continued that major.”
He graduated in December with a dual major in business management and information systems.
He has since been hired onto the project management team in a full-time role, serving as administrator for the IT project management system and writing reports in Power BI, a business analytics software, to help keep track of important statistics and metrics to determine areas of improvement within the office.
“I have really learned to embrace my enjoyment for working with technology. I enjoy problems and finding solutions to them,” Drown said. “I had a long journey with UToledo not really knowing what I wanted to do when I arrived here, but I now have a job in a field that I enjoy.”