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Stanford Report, September 30, 1998

Computing Services forms new group: 9/98

Computing services combined into new group, MedIT

Networking, Web services and administrative and financial computing at the Medical Center were combined this month into a new organization called School of Medicine Information Technologies (MedIT), announced Edward H. Shortliffe, MD, PhD, associate dean for information resources and technology.

The new group combines services formerly provided by the Information Systems Group (ISG) and by MedNET. It is headed by John Reuling, a former associate director of ISG and, since 1994, director of MedNET. Gaylene Garlitz, former acting director of ISG, has become senior associate director of the new group, supervising functions previously undertaken by ISG and assuming Reuling's overall management responsibilities in his absence.

MedIT serves the School of Medicine and will also provide contract services to UCSF Stanford Health Care, Reuling said.

"We think people will find it convenient to contact a single organization, rather than trying to unravel whether their request for service is more appropriately directed to ISG or MedNET," said Reuling. "Users aren't going to see much change as a result of the merged [MedIT] organization," he added, noting that the restructuring reflects changes in information technology as well as in the business structure of the Medical Center.

Relevant phone numbers remain the same. For now, the organization will continue to operate at two locations, with most former ISG employees staying in the Medical School Office Building while Web and networking functions remain in the former MedNET offices at 701 Welch Road. "Eventually MedIT might move to a consolidated location," Reuling said. The combined organization has 24 permanent and 15 student employees.

"MedNET was started [in 1994] to develop networking around the Medical Center. Soon afterward, Web activities were added as a natural extension of this function," Reuling said. "When we started MedNET, the World Wide Web didn't exist and we needed to start at ground zero to build an infrastructure. ISG personnel then were focused on supporting financial and administrative systems on local and institutional networks. Now we're finding that our Web developers are being asked to integrate administrative data within a Web structure, and our business information people working with what previously was ISG are finding that much of what they're developing is being used in a Web context."

Shortliffe said a separate group to support networking was crucial when the Medical Center was funded by several clinical entities in addition to the school. But the separation of funding sources into just two units ­ UCSF Stanford Health Care and the School of Medicine ­ simplified the relationship and allowed for a single networking, Web support and administrative information group, with no need to keep MedNET separate for accounting purposes, he said.

The restructuring of computer services was also a natural outgrowth of organizational reevaluation and a job search to replace Gerry Weitz, who left as director of ISG last summer to direct information systems architecture for Information Technology Systems and Services (ITSS) on the main campus, Shortliffe said.

A major project for MedIT in the near future is to upgrade the network in the School of Medicine, said Reuling. "Essentially, we'll be making sure that network lines meet current standards and improve and standardize network active gear [switching systems] ­ the boxes departments have in the closet ­ which make networking possible," he said.

In another personnel shift at MedIT, Bill Merz, formerly Web project editor at MedNET, has become assistant director of staff development and external affairs, Reuling announced. SR