Jacinto Convit Foundation grows by leveraging technology hand in hand with SupraBT
The Jacinto Convit Foundation (FJC), is a non-profit institution established in Venezuela in 2012 in order to provide a social service through science that promotes values and gives continuity to the legacy of the Venezuelan doctor Dr. Jacinto Convit. With the purpose of contributing to the welfare and social development of the most vulnerable populations in the country, it carries out various scientific research programs, health assistance, educational projects and community services. For this, it has a multidisciplinary team in which professionals from the health, basic, social and humanistic sciences participate, who work in alliance with various health institutions, research centers, academia, multilateral organizations, non-profit organizations and private institutions building collaboration networks. Technology plays a fundamental role in the performance of its work, since it needs to have technological tools that guarantee the integrity and availability of information, as well as fluid and uninterrupted communication.
This is how SupraBT becomes one of the main allies of information technology services of the FJC, by donating in 2014 and as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility program, the Help Desk service and Information Technology consulting, which have allowed the Foundation to attend to queries, requirements and incidents of its technological platform using industry best practices.
In the words of Mariely Contreras, leader in Recruitment and Institutional Relations at the Jacinto Convit Foundation: “We have been growing hand in hand with SupraBT. They have been one of our first allies, guiding us in the adoption and use of technology”.
The Jacinto Convit Foundation carries out its work through the following programs:
- Molecular Diagnostic Unit (MDU): Through an agreement with the country’s public hospitals, it provides a free highly specialized molecular diagnostic service for chronic and infectious diseases, including malignant neoplasms (leukemia and some solid tumors) and HIV. This unit works with its own protocols based on molecular techniques and generates scientific research based on rare findings in these pathologies.
- Experimental Immunotherapy Unit (EIU): Works on the development of new treatments aimed at the immune system to combat infectious and chronic diseases such as cancer. It is currently developing a personalized immunotherapy for breast cancer, called ConvitVax, which is in the clinical trial phase, in which it has been shown to be potentially effective and safe. In addition, it contributes to the development of science worldwide, through the publication of research papers in scientific journals.
- Jacinto Convit Digital Library: A virtual platform that compiles the life and work of Dr. Jacinto Convit, available in 108 languages, which consists of a contribution to universal history and is freely accessible to all humanity.
- Values through science: Through presentations, talks, film forums, documentaries and the publication of educational materials, it disseminates the values and legacies of Dr. Jacinto Convit, while inspiring the different generations to achieve great dreams in the country.
- Training: Receives students of different careers from different universities in the country, for the development of internships, degree work and community services, which allows them to acquire knowledge and skills in areas such as scientific research, molecular biology techniques, project development, design and communications, writing, and fundraising.
The Foundation is certified by the ISO 9001 2015 quality standards in its scientific and educational programs, which certifies the reliability of its processes.
With a staff of 15 highly talented and committed professionals, the FJC falls under the category of SMEs. Not having internal personnel specialized in technology, they decided to rely on the information technology services offered by SupraBT to solve everything related to supporting their technological infrastructure; from software installation and updating, hardware maintenance, configuration and homogenization of computer devices; to incident care and advice on IT improvement projects.
The first step was to shape the technological infrastructure of the institution. As it is a non-profit institution, all the equipment is received through donations from different organizations and through the support and IT advice provided by SupraBT they have managed to give uniformity to their infrastructure, so that there is compatibility between the different devices and teamwork is made easier.
“From the administrative departments, to the neuralgic areas, such as the scientific units, each area plays a fundamental role within the Foundation and any failure in any of them stops the entire process,” says Mariely Contreras. “That is why it was vitally important to have prompt and timely technological support, which would guarantee us the possibility of working smoothly and without interruptions.”
In the case of the Molecular Diagnostic Unit, Contreras explains that this unit maintains a permanent link with hospitals throughout the country with which they have an agreement: The hospitals take the samples and send them to the Foundation, which is in charge of processing them in the laboratory and issuing a differentiated diagnosis, which doctors can see through an application that was developed by our team of interns. In this way it is possible to define a specific treatment for the patient. “All this has to be done in the shortest time possible —he emphasizes—, so the researchers must have optimal equipment and the best technology. It is vitally important to have timely attention in the face of any problem that could arise, since the health of the people we serve is at stake”.
Carlos Holguín, in charge of General Services, mentions that the storage of information was another of the critical areas. “The processes that are handled in the FJC correspond to quite sensitive information, confidential in many cases; therefore, it is of paramount importance to be able to count on a service with a high level of reliability such as SupraBT’s, which guarantees the security and support of the information in each of the processes that we carry out”, he points out.
Through the technical support service or Information Technology Help Desk and consulting, SupraBT acts as an external IT department for the Jacinto Convit Foundation, providing follow-up and support at three levels:
- Inquiries (For example, recommendations on equipment donations)
- Requirements (For example, when they need to install or configure some equipment).
- Incidents (Unforeseen events and events that prevent the platform from behaving as expected).
The channels used to request support are email or telephone. Once the request is received, SupraBT generates a service ticket and follows up with the assignment of an engineer, who, depending on the case, provides support in person or remotely, in no more than 8 business hours and in most cases of cases immediately.
Before receiving a donation, SupraBT carries out a diagnosis of each piece of equipment to ensure that it is in optimal conditions, since it is generally equipment that is disincorporated by other companies. To extend its useful life, in many cases some hardware components have to be replaced. Cleaning, formatting and installation of the operating system and software with the productivity tools used throughout the organization is also done. A user is created for each machine, which is incorporated into the technological platform, which allows keeping a record of the equipment that the foundation has.
“Hand in hand with SupraBT we have carried out important improvement projects and their support has allowed us to solve different requirements in a timely and efficient manner, in addition to resolving unforeseen events, preventing our work from being interrupted,” Holguín assures.
The person in charge of General Services expresses that SupraBT’s support has been very important, not only to increase the capacity of the technological equipment, but also to extend its useful life. Remember that previously they had very low-quality equipment and it was very difficult for users to advance, since the machines were very slow: “You couldn’t open more than 4 applications, because they would freeze,” he says. “Now we have equipment with sixth generation Core i5 processors, with 4 Gigs of RAM, 500GB hard drives, and in general, equipment in very good condition, which allows for more efficient management. Without a doubt, it has improved our performance,” he says.
According to Mariely Contreras, what stands out most about the SupraBT service is the speed of response, in addition to being available 365 days a year. “Their attention has always been very timely. Once we make a request via email, after 2-3 minutes they evaluate the case and within 10 to 15 minutes we are already getting a response”.
“For us, technology was an unknown field and it is an area that always represents a challenge: either we adapt and innovate with it; or we get left behind. SupraBT’s advice has given us access to the best practices in the industry, allowing us to make efficient use of the different technological tools available in order to achieve the objectives of our organization,” says Contreras.
The Foundation is currently working with SupraBT on a project to update the database, install a new IBM server and Cisco switch; which will result in improved performance for the benefit of users.
The new active directory server will allow the management of users in each area: General Services, Administration, Recruitment, Educational Programs, Projects, Human Talent, Quality, EIU and MDU departments, which is expected to streamline processes even more and improve platform security.
Additionally, there is a plan to install the biometric equipment management systems, surveillance cameras and telephone exchange, which are currently managed separately, on the new server, which will allow the consolidation of all the computer systems in a single physical hardware. Another plan is to integrate the monitoring of the cold line in the laboratory, to verify that the temperatures are always within the ranges specified by the specialists in the laboratories, relying for this on the expert advice of SupraBT.