"IS is seen as a strategic resource for the company."
— Dave Bowen, Senior VP and CIO

Hospital Large shop


Baptist Health System is the largest health care provider in the state of Alabama. It manages 2,002 beds, 11 hospitals, 4 nursing homes, and 9 home health care agencies. It also has a network of 140 physicians at 52 locations, 500 senior care units, 1 retirement living center, and 4 fitness centers. It is the state's largest primary care network, largest independent Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), and largest Preferred Provider Organization (PPO).

Founded in 1930, Baptist Health is a private, not-for-profit organization, with revenues of $1.2 billion. Its 10,000 employees are headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.



Baptist Health's core applications run on AMDAHL 5995 and 1400A mainframes. A number of RS/6000s and almost 3,000 PCs are connected through Wide Area Networks (WANs) and Local Area Networks (LANs), with fiber-optic cable facilitating transmission of voice, data, and video files. The company uses the Enterprise System Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) software as well as SSI's patient accounting package and Shared Medical Systems (SMS) application software. Programming is in COBOL, SAS, and FOCUS, using the DB2 database management system. There is an extensive video-conferencing network.

Job titles for Baptist Health's 110 computer professionals include Programmer Analyst, Project Leader, Director, and Technical Application Specialist. Staff members are currently developing a system for five hospitals using wireless, handheld devices and small laptop computers to collect patient data and display vital signs. A team is also developing a case management system in COBOL, using DB2, to chart a patient's progress in comparison to standards for similar cases.


Computer professionals work in offices in a nonsmoking environment. Standard office hours are typically 8 AM to 5 PM. A 50-hour week is common, with no overtime pay except if called while on call duty. Office dress is typically casual. There is little need for travel; most travel is local. The company offers its computer professionals a dynamic environment with leading-edge applications, where the Information Systems function is seen as a key resource.

Baptist Health has an Earned Time Off policy in which holidays, vacation, and sick leave are combined. Employees start with 20 days a year and move to 25 days a year after five years. The company pays for medical, disability, dental, and life insurance, as well as for tuition reimbursement, and a retirement program. There have never been any layoffs, but the company is in the midst of cost reduction efforts which may include downsizing. It expects to place 90 percent of affected employees in other positions within the organization.


SMS application experience is preferred for candidates, with health care experience an added plus. The company looks for computer professionals with initiative, the ability to work well on a team, and a strong belief in the organization's humanitarian mission. While Baptist Health does hire entry-level computer professionals, most of these candidates are found within the organization, typically from the operations center. Current staff members have an average of 7 years to 10 years of experience and 2 years of college.

Baptist Health generally hires between 20 and 28 computer professionals a year, finding most candidates through advertisements and contacts within the health care industry and is currently actively recruiting.


Letters are preferred.

Ms. Cindy Nicholson, Human Resources Recruiter
Baptist Health System, Inc.
P.O. Box 830605
3500 Blue Lake Drive
Birmingham, Alabama 35283-0605
(205) 322-9300

Copyright 1998. Carol L. Covin. Covin’s Southeast Computer Job Guide