|IBS Newsletter||November 2014|| |
In writing these articles I try to express things that I feel are important. Getting an Education, CBET certification and training are important. I will give you a little personal information about me, to prove that I mean what I say.
I am in my late 40s and have just recently started to go back to school. I have an associate degree from IUPUI. And I am starting on my bachelors. This is both expensive and time-consuming. I am just now starting the process to look for scholarships, grants or loans. This is a lot of paperwork and frustration, but luckily I have good family support. I know that in the long run, all of the hard work I put into expanding my knowledge, will pay off.
I tell you all this to impress upon you how important an education will be to your future. You need to have an education to even be eligible for most jobs today. I know it’s stressful. I know it’s time-consuming. And I know it’s expensive, but after all; YOU are your best investment!
We are fortunate to have four very good colleges right here in Indiana. I have friends that graduated from Vincennes University in southern Indiana. After working with them and talking about their education, I would have to say this is a good school. I am personally attending both IUPUI and IVY Tech and I feel that I am getting a quality education. I recently visited Brown Mackie College and would also encourage you to check out their biomed program.
In my opinion, all the schools could use more equipment, so the students could receive hands on training, but in reality you get most of your hands on training after you are employed. It is nice to have experience, but for the most part, you will get your training on the job. This is not to say that you will be spoon-fed. I view training like knowledge, you must seek it out. I know guys that have been on the job for years and barely know how to turn on a computer. I also know others that have very little time on the job and can troubleshoot an entire network. My point is, when you are responsible for a system, you need to know how to operate it; troubleshoot it; and what the backup procedures are when it is down. So go out of your way to get training!
Is college out of reach? Do you have your CBET or Networking certificate? Maybe you could work on one of these certificates.
We have our annual conference coming up in January in Indianapolis and it is a great place to meet people in our field. Networking is one of the best ways to get a job and may be your best source for talking to someone that works on the same equipment that you do.
I would encourage you to come and join us. Be sure to get a room at the hotel while there are discounted rooms left.
So come have fun on Saturday, January 24, 2015 at the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre Hotel. Hope to see you there.
Well, another great year is coming to an end. Where has all the time gone?! I mean really, it seems as though I was just sitting, staring at my computer wondering “What am I supposed to write?” and now it’s time to wrap things up for the year. In my opinion, the IBS had a great year. Several board members are first timers, with the exception of our trustee, Lanita Hill, who kept us going throughout the entire year and managed to keep us new guys from. Now let’s keep the momentum going and end strong!
At our last meeting, we had a great presentation by Scott Jones, who just happens to be the IBS Secretary this year. He gave a very in depth presentation, and gave a few ultrasound tips and tricks. We had an awesome breakfast sponsored by Western Governors University. A special thank you goes out to Mary Clipp from WGU. She had a great meal catered by the Windmill Grill that was a real crowd pleaser. Hopefully this is the beginning of a great relationship between WGU and the IBS.
When our illustrious El Presidente asked me to write an article for the newsletter, we both agreed that it would be only fitting that, as Treasurer, I should write about something “financial”. So as I sat and noodled on what might be a relevant and timely subject, I thought about what I had experienced over the last 12 months of being involved with numerous product evaluations, site visits, and capital equipment decisions, and one theme kept bubbling up: Cost of Ownership. Too often we see sales professionals focusing on and highlighting the “sticker price” of their products, but not really getting into the details of what the total cost of owning, operating, and maintaining their equipment will be throughout the entire life of the device. As clinical engineering professionals we can provide a valuable service as technical liaisons for the clinical staff to help them understand what some of the “hidden costs” may be. Some of the costs associated with new equipment purchases include (but are not limited to) consumables/disposables, cables, adapters, service contracts, user training, biomed training, special test equipment, and parts and labor for vendor service. Here are just a few scenarios I have seen recently that can drive up the total cost of ownership and may not be realized at the time of purchase.
- 1. Tube sets, cables, disposables, etc., for existing equipment can be used on the new equipment, BUT you need an expensive adapter that drives the cost up so you’re not really saving anything.
- 2. The cost of service school plus special test equipment costs more than five years of the service agreement. And that doesn’t include the parts you will have to buy if you opt for inhouse service. Not a very attractive ROI.
- 3. The vendor carves out the cost of the first-year warranty to drive down the sticker price, so you get hit with paying for a service agreement that starts at the time of installation and you didn’t have it budgeted for this year.
- 4. The service school is included in the purchase, but there are very expensive parts that make it almost a requirement to get a service contract just for the “insurance” against the catastrophic part failure.
- 5. The software that goes with the equipment needs to be installed with the help of your in house IT group and will involve interface costs and possibly database build costs, too. Any application interface with usually have a cost associated with each vendor that is involved; usually, at least two, one for each “side” of the interface. I am currently waiting for a quote from Cerner (our EMR) for their part of the interfacing. It could prevent the purchase of the application if it’s too costly for the interface. We have, in the past, purchased applications that cost as much to interface as the cost of the software!
These are just a few hidden costs that I have seen over the last year or so. As healthcare technology professionals, we need to make sure that we assist our facilities with conducting a comprehensive and accurate cost of ownership assessment prior to any capital purchase. This is just one more way to show the C-suite our value to provide opportunities for cost containment in this time of diminishing reimbursement. And document any and all savings to show your boss the next time you want to go to the IBS Annual Conference. Thanks for reading.
Senior Territory Manager
System Backup and Preset Disks
The single most important thing you can do with an ultrasound unit prior to a failure is to create a preset or backup disk. We have all heard this over and over, well it is true! I am still surprised about how often I go into a site to resolve an issue and not find a backup disk of any kind. This makes a simple routine job into a very complex or at least more complicated repair. These complications can take from a few minutes to resolve (rarely) to multiple days, with numerous visit to the unit.
On most units these days it takes about 5-10 minutes to make a backup CD/DVD. I have experienced 4 service calls this calendar year in which there was no backup disk or the backup disk was outdated. In each situation the fix took me at least an extra hour and in one case it took days to gather all the necessary data to have the unit fully restored. Why was there no backup disk? In one case it existed but was locked away in a vacationing engineer’s desk, in other cases it was never made, had simply disappeared or was outdated because of network changes.
My suggestions, make multiple copies, keep one on the unit itself, take the second back to your desk. Make backups often, there really is no down side. I understand all of this takes small amounts of time. However your return on investment, in time, is great. Without backup disks you will face a negative time ROI at some point, making backup disks will save you time in the long run.
Here are a few extra tips when making backup disks:
- 1. Write the units serial #, and software level on the disk as well as the date it was created.
- 2. Write the units IP address, subnet, and gateway on the disk. These items often do not restore automatically, if the unit is DHCP note that so it can be selected.
- 3. Make multiple copies of the backup disk; CD/DVD’s are one scratch away from being useless. Also, don’t put multiple copies on the same CD/DVD, again if it is scratched or lost you lose them all. It is no problem having 4-5 CD/DVD’s on a unit, mine all have that many!
- 4. Make new backup disk every time you change something on the unit. This is very important when you make changes to the network settings. This is also most often when it is not done!
- 5. Regardless of the number of backup disks created or when you last did it, they should be made during every PM. By doing this you can test the units ability to gather all this data and burn it to a CD/DVD.
- 6. If you’re not sure how to make a backup disk for a given unit, just call me or someone else who knows, I would be glad to tell you how!
IBS Annual Meeting
Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre Hotel
January 24th 2015
Details to Follow