Riley’s new maternity tower is personal to this dad

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04/13/2022

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IT project manager talks about “distraction therapy” and how his work life spilled over into his home life when his wife delivered their baby boy.

By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior writer, mgilmer1@iuhealth.org

Josh Ash will be the first to tell you he didn’t design an operating room or build a piece of lifesaving equipment. What he did do is lead a project to make life a little bit better for patients in Riley’s new maternity tower.

Ash, a project manager for IU Health, worked for the past several months installing a smart television system in the tower so laboring and recovering moms might have a nice distraction while they are inpatient.

It’s all part of his job, but he also had a personal interest in the tower. His wife, Audrey Brown, gave birth there in late December. Because she has epilepsy, hers was a high-risk pregnancy, and she was followed by the Riley Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic for several months.

Delivery at Riley was an intimate affair, she said, just what she needed. There was one physician, two nurses, her mom and husband. The lights were kept low, and noise was kept to a minimum.

“I felt so relaxed and supported. It’s usually such a high-energy event,” she said, which can often be stressful and intense, like the birth of the couple’s first child in Wisconsin.

“This felt almost like a home birth. We were just very pleased with the services and all the staff. We were just so fortunate with the care, the monitoring and the high level of communication.”

And when it was all over? The couple got to enjoy episodes of “The Great British Baking Show” on those smart TVs that Ash worked so hard to get updated.

“We call it distraction therapy,” Ash said with a smile.

He is in the process of upgrading all the televisions in Simon Family Tower to the same technology, as well as installing digital white boards in SFT and the maternity tower later this year.

The digital white board will replace the physical boards in patient rooms that display the date, the care team and any therapies or procedures scheduled.

With the new technology, nurses can automatically update the white board when they update a patient’s chart in Cerner, the hospital’s electronic health record system.

“When you’re in IT, you want to focus on making sure the work you’re doing is going to make life easier or better for our clinical staff and our patients,” he said.

Ash, who enjoys rock climbing and golf in his spare time, worked in the education sector as an IT project manager for a few years before moving to IU Health, where he feels more connected to the healthcare mission.

With an undergrad degree in psychology, he previously worked in the field of behavioral health. His entire family, he said, “is littered with nurses and social workers,” so he comes by his interest in healthcare honestly.

He earned an MBA, thinking he might like to go into hospital administration, but he says he’s also been a “computer nerd” his whole life, so that’s where the crossover into IT project management came into play.

Working on the maternity center project meant a lot to Ash, particularly as he and his wife prepared for the birth of their second child.

“We always knew we were going to deliver there,” he said, and Brown added, “We knew Riley was the best hospital for us.”

And now they are busy at home with 4-year-old daughter Edie and 3-month-old son Callum.

As the sweet chimes rang out in the tower one morning last week notifying all that a baby had just been born, Ash smiled and said, “It’s a lot of fun just knowing I was involved in this project.”

Photos submitted and by Mike Dickbernd, IU Health visual journalist, mdickbernd@iuhealth.org

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