Frustrating experience at the pediatrician this week. The nurse measured our 19-month old daughter's head circumference, height, and weight and, type A geek that I am, I asked the same question I ask at every appointment: "can I see those graphed?" Here's the conversation that ensued:
Nurse: "No. Computer's down."
Me: "But they're networked. Can you use a different machine?"
Nurse: "No. System's down."
Nurse: "Tech came out three days ago. Said he didn't know we were upgraded. He’ll be back Friday."
Me: "So the whole system has been down for three days??"
Nurse: "Yeah. Real pain. We're manually updating charts like the old days. Then we'll hand-enter everything later."
Useful background: we chose this clinic in part because they use state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and our test results are available online immediately. Huge selling point but this outage makes the whole operation seem fragile and forces us to question the care we receive.
Back to the story: the nurse's answer was pathetic so I sought refuge in the basement (where, for some reason, all companies sequester IT). Sure enough, a surly tech had been dispatched with obsolete information about the whole system - hardware records were years out of date, network information was misleading, software config data dated back to when high technology meant leeches in an apothecary jar on the top shelf.
So here I am in a modern doctor's office in the cradle of Silicon Valley and I can't look at my daughter's health records because some dude had no idea floor 3 had been upgraded in 2005. A silly problem with a simple solution - and an exchange that underscored what customers tell me every day: Mobile Asset Management changes everything.
Add off-the-shelf handheld bar code or RFID scanners interfaced to an Asset Management application and CMDB (all of which, by the way, the hospital purchased but doesn't use) and this whole experience is completely different. The outage that led to a week of downtime is resolved in hours not days. Nurses can focus on providing care - not excuses. And we can spend the extra five minutes spent wrestling with Dell paper weights understanding how Dara’s developing.
The days of physical inventories are over. 95% of all companies still update asset repositories the wrong way and the economic impact is in the billions. Why collect information manually that is obsolete before ever being entered and inaccurate when it finally is (which leads to more manual entry) when a simple application of mobile technology and smart software can automate the end-to-end process and eliminate human error? Never again should profit margins, productivity, or patient safety be sacrificed because too little information is known about what is owned or what condition it's in.
Dr. Levin. I hope you're reading this.
Click here for more information about Mobile Asset Management.
The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.