When Janet Capan, Epic security coordinator, graduated from high school, jobs were hard to find. She used the “internet tools” available then, which consisted of a car, rotary phone and the newspaper, to apply for work. Fast forward to 2019. Janet, who has worked almost 5 decades in Akron Children’s Information Services division, knows about the evolution of health care technology firsthand. She’s had a front row seat, helping to implement IT solutions that ensure Children’s has the best technology available to deliver the highest quality care to patients.
After 49 years of technology involvement, Janet intends to go low-tech when she retires on June 28. She plans to ride bicycles with her grandchildren, plant flowers at her son’s house, enjoy time with her family and friends and take strolls on the beach.
What brought you to Children’s?
When I was in high school, I babysat Carl and Irene Udall’s children. Both the Udalls worked at Children’s. They urged me to apply here and use them as references. It was a blessing for me because I landed an interview with Mary Brown in human resources, who hired me.
Have you always worked in the same department and role?
My first job was to post charges into what looked like a very large cash register. The charges posted onto a bill, which I hand-stuffed into envelopes. Soon after I started working, I met a man, who I eventually married. Once, we got into a friendly snowball fight. I fell, broke my femur and couldn’t work for 3 months. When I returned to Children’s, I worked in data processing, which is now information services. I worked as a computer operator/keypuncher, during which time I completed an IBM training certification and became an AS400 programmer for several years. But, I’m a people person and missed personal interaction. I returned to computer operations before becoming a security access analyst, working directly with our employees on network access and email issues. When Epic came along, I became a security coordinator.
What have your biggest contributions been while here?
I was probably our first “service desk” in the late ’90s before we had a help desk. Employees called for help with access issues or to reset their passwords.
How has Akron Children’s changed since you started here?
The biggest change is in my own department. We’ve grown from 6 to more than 300 employees. The size of the computers we use has shrunk, and the systems we use have evolved from AS400, Infinium, Clinacc and MedSeries4 to Epic, our electronic medical record system. Our technology growth earned Children’s elite Stage 7 designation from Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Analytics. We’ve also been “Most Wired” for 5 consecutive years, a distinction that recognizes organizations with exceptionally high IT systems and integration throughout their enterprise.
What gave you the most satisfaction at work?
I hope employees who called me for help or with a question “felt” the smile on my face. It makes me happy to be helpful and positive. I’ve also liked my co-workers and my job, where I always learned something new.
What’s your most memorable moment at Akron Children’s?
I flew to Madison, Wisc., when I received my Epic certification. It was the first time I had flown. I was scared, but the passenger next to me talked me through it and helped me get over my fear of flying.
With so many little children here, did someone or something especially touch your heart?
Seeing the children with tufts of hair missing, yellowish skin and a parent pulling an IV pole made me want to do something. I started donating blood and have now donated over 3 gallons of blood during Children’s blood drives. It’s something I will continue to do. Plus, I’ll get to see my work friends!
What do you look forward to the most in retirement?
Having more play dates with my grandchildren, enjoying sunrises and sunsets on newfound beaches and maybe visiting Ireland and crossing it off my bucket list
Do you have any advice for people just starting at Children’s?
Volunteer so you meet employees from other departments. Who knows? You might just meet your new best friend.
What music do you like? Where and how do you listen to it?
New country and classic rock. When my 2 youngest sons lived in Toledo, I’d drive to visit them, listening to and singing along with Bob Seger, the Eagles and Neil Young until I was hoarse.