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Old 06-09-2010, 03:10 PM   #61
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Anonymous evaluations. Everyone could evaluate anyone in the company - from janitor to CEO - anonymously! It was supposed to allow more candid evaluations...

Well, it turned into a big bash fest. People used the opportunity to settle scores, take pot shots at people and spread false rumors about their foes. It was ugly.
We only can evaluate our manager and other co-workers if asked. But it is theoretically anonymous, can damage our reviews (without knowing who/what context the issue came from) and oh yeah, they shred the evidence. I usually only give good reviews in this scenario, on the grounds that I want people to get raises.
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Old 06-09-2010, 03:41 PM   #62
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I agree that it takes special talent to control IT people . Skill with a whip and a small handgun might qualify. IT people in general hate the idea that they are staff and not line and that they work for other people rather than the greater glory of the IT department. I conducted research for more than 20 years on the role of IT in health care. The same problems occur over and over and over again. Fundamentally in health care you have to keep the end users (medical types) happy, and you have to keep the system running properly ALL THE TIME. It is very difficult to find IT people who understand these concepts, much less how to do it. Add in the complex medical problems of "need to know" and patient privacy and you have an incredibly difficult task. Nothing in the training or experience of general IT people prepares them for the health care environment. Many Many Many companies have entered the field and failed dismally.
Actually, what I really hate is that the clinical people get the good tools and don't understand that IT needs money even though it's not a profit center. I find that the IT people here DO understand, but we get dismissive treatment a LOT by the clinical staff.

My "favorite" story is of a doctor who called the onsite help staff because his PC wasn't working. When told that someone would be there in 10 minutes (it's a very large building and long walk) he said "That's too long - I won't be here." Rudely.
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Old 06-09-2010, 04:24 PM   #63
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Actually, what I really hate is that the clinical people get the good tools and don't understand that IT needs money even though it's not a profit center. I find that the IT people here DO understand, but we get dismissive treatment a LOT by the clinical staff.

My "favorite" story is of a doctor who called the onsite help staff because his PC wasn't working. When told that someone would be there in 10 minutes (it's a very large building and long walk) he said "That's too long - I won't be here." Rudely.
In my world (emergency medicine) 10 minutes is a long time. We spent 5 hours last night with part of our IT system off-line and the help desk "working on it". They finally gave up and said we would have to wait for the day crew. We limped to the finish line and exited with the comments that it is now a "DSP" (Day Shift Problem).

My favourite IT comment was when we were unable to print prescriptions one night because of a printer failure and were told that there is no one available to fix hardware at night. We were asked if we really needed to print prescriptions for patients "late at night" .

I do hear you though about $ support. Our hardware is outdated and overwhelmed. They are willing to spend money on software though - much of which works poorly. Oh and we will be "updating" to Windows XP service pack 3 mid-July .

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Old 06-09-2010, 05:11 PM   #64
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The HR rep who was informing us all of the new testing program warned us in strictest terms to refrain from eating anything with poppy seeds in it as this would give a false positive in our urine tests and could lead to termination. ".
Don't know if you've ever watched "Mythbusters" but they proved this to be true and that the test would be positive for quite a few hours after consuming the poppy seed.
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Old 06-09-2010, 09:02 PM   #65
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Actually, what I really hate is that the clinical people get the good tools and don't understand that IT needs money even though it's not a profit center. I find that the IT people here DO understand, but we get dismissive treatment a LOT by the clinical staff.

My "favorite" story is of a doctor who called the onsite help staff because his PC wasn't working. When told that someone would be there in 10 minutes (it's a very large building and long walk) he said "That's too long - I won't be here." Rudely.
Certainly Health IT costs money, lots of money, but as I said you have to keep the system running ALL THE TIME No, a doctor will not wait 10 minutes for you to show up. Even in the classroom IT system no one would wait 10 minutes for a tech to show up and start fixing the system. One way or another you have to keep the systems running and respond, in person or electronically much faster.
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Old 06-09-2010, 09:06 PM   #66
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My favourite IT comment was when we were unable to print prescriptions one night because of a printer failure and were told that there is no one available to fix hardware at night. We were asked if we really needed to print prescriptions for patients "late at night" .
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DD
I did a Sabbatical in health care information systems in the USA and Europe. Many software and hardware vendors are simply unprepared for an environment that simply will not tolerate the failures that are routine in other areas.
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Old 06-09-2010, 09:31 PM   #67
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Old 06-09-2010, 10:42 PM   #68
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Alright, you peaked my interest. What sort of appraisal system was well received?
Okay, maybe it wasn't universally well received, but relatively well received. Here's how it worked. Each director (whether he had 50 or 250 employees) was given a pot of money, based on the relative grade level of his employees and the number of employees. So, if he had mostly PHDs, he would get more money per head, but each employee got a "share" put into the director's pot.

Then each person who had reports (managers, dept. heads, supervisors, or scientists, etc.) had each employee fill out his own PA and submit it. Each PA would be discussed with its employee by his direct supervision. The 2 would come to some consensus on how good the year had been for the employee. Most "discrepancies" in performance were handled right then and there.

Only thing left to do was to see who got what share of the pot of money. Each "rank" (technician, scientist, staff person, etc.) was then evaluated in a group session and ranked against his/her peers. So, theoretically, all people of the same "rank" COULD have evenly split the pot. In fact what happened (I know, 'cause I was there fighting for my employees to get their fair share) was that each person in the room would discuss his/her reports and then all reports were literally ranked on a white board. The numbering system was arbitrary. It could be 1 to 5 or I saw 1 to 25 one time. You could end up with 7 5's, 8 9's, 2 10's, 11 13's, .... 0 25's, etc. The pot was then split based on the person's relative position. There WAS NO FIT to a curve. All could be high or all could be low or it could come out as a bell shaped curve. Each person who supervised had an equal vote (and responsibility to fight for his reports). I watched it all happen and with few exceptions thought it came out very well. Keep in mind that we all knew everyone who was being discussed and no one would stand for one person getting a very much higher or lower evaluation then was deserved.

I explained this system to my reports and others of similar "rank" and they were impressed if still just a bit skeptical that it would turn out. I heard very little complaining about raises during those 2 years. It was truly a thing of beauty because it was administered very well - forgot to mention that a manager (who also knew everyone's work) was the facilitator. He/she never let anyone get away with anything when it came to pushing one individual over another. It was time-consuming, but I think worth it.
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Old 06-09-2010, 10:51 PM   #69
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Don't know if you've ever watched "Mythbusters" but they proved this to be true and that the test would be positive for quite a few hours after consuming the poppy seed.
Missed that episode, but, yes, I was aware that poppy seeds contain traces of opiate derivatives. I think I mentioned in my post that gas chromatography with mass spectrometry detection was used for anyone who was found with a "positive" urine test at our company. So, poppy seed alkaloyds could be distinguished from, say, morphine or heroine, etc. No one, to my knowledge, was ever terminated under this program, though others were for using street drugs (but only after being tested "for cause" - not because of this program). Actually, alcohol was still our biggest problem.
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Old 06-10-2010, 02:00 AM   #70
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I can sympathize with the stories. I worked as a programmer in a Biomed Shop. Hospital IT would not touch any computer hooked to a clinical device so we ended taking care of them. They preferred to work on billing systems and the like. So our group would get paged when clinical computers went down. I understand that this is no longer the case but on the other hand, my software I wrote 18 years ago, is still being used.

I also got sent to the Hospital safety committee meetings since everyone else was busy and the director wanted someone there to show the flag. I got to wear my lab coat and look knowledgeable. I learned the first year residents and the cleaning staff are dangers to themself.

As for ratings, the system was moved from 1 to 5 down to 1 to 3 with 15-20 percent being 1s, 75 to 80 percent being 2s and the remaining 5 percent being 3s. Oh well.
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Old 06-10-2010, 04:38 AM   #71
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The 2 would come to some consensus on how good the year had been for the employee. Most "discrepancies" in performance were handled right then and there..
The academic merit pay system was very straight forward. Getting a merit raise required:

1) getting an offer from a peer university (anyone who would ever consider working at any other kind of institution was not considered a serious academic)
2) Being a person the management wanted to keep (in my shop that meant you brought in big government grants.)

This was called "matching the market" and resulted in vast differences in salary to people who were essentially doing the same work at the same level. People who were not "mobile" i.e. generally those with families who could not solicit a peer institution across the country were paid less. It also meant if the Peer institutions did not offer your field or were not hiring in your field your salary simply stagnated.
The management defended the system as being "objective" and therefore "fair"
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Old 06-10-2010, 06:59 AM   #72
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Don't know if you've ever watched "Mythbusters" but they proved this to be true and that the test would be positive for quite a few hours after consuming the poppy seed.
Don't forget about the Seinfeld episode where Elaine flunks a drug test due to her eating a poppy seed roll. Later, she eats another one but is tipped off to its effect on her upcoming retest and smuggles into the test the urine of Jerry's mother (who has osteoperosis) so she keeps her job but can't travel to Asia like she wanted LOL!
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Old 06-10-2010, 07:07 AM   #73
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Missed that episode, but, yes, I was aware that poppy seeds contain traces of opiate derivatives. I think I mentioned in my post that gas chromatography with mass spectrometry detection was used for anyone who was found with a "positive" urine test at our company. So, poppy seed alkaloyds could be distinguished from, say, morphine or heroine, etc. No one, to my knowledge, was ever terminated under this program, though others were for using street drugs (but only after being tested "for cause" - not because of this program). Actually, alcohol was still our biggest problem.
That episode of "Mythbusters" was from maybe the second season. You're right, where I worked alcohol problems were much more serious than any street drug. In my tenure a lot of people were disciplined for alcohol but I don't remember anyone for street drugs.
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Old 06-10-2010, 07:34 AM   #74
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My recent fave was an initiative that was supposed to address employee concerns about how the place is run, culture, etc. They got a bunch of well-meaning dupes from the ranks to work up somewhat vague issues into concrete problems with proposed solutions. Said dupes then presented their findings at a division- wide meeting for comment and as a basis for further work. Right away, VPs stood up and started banging away at anything that was not complete pap. End result was that each of the teams of dupes were required to have a "sponsor" from senior mgmt who could more effectively gut what was supposed to be an employee-driven process. It continues today and every time they publicly present what they are doing it becomes more watered down. But they are "empowering" employees...
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Old 06-10-2010, 07:43 AM   #75
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Annual employee surveys. A third-party comes up with 20 questions relevant to all but the actual worker bees. The results are compiled and lo and behold without fail lack of leadership and failure to communicate vision float to the top of the list as serious problem areas. So what does management do? They assemble a committee of worker bees to study the problem, non of whom have the authority to change anything.
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:30 AM   #76
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:44 AM   #77
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American Airlines buying TWA ...

BOA buying Countrywide ...

Both on the verge of bankruptcy and could have had thier assest purchased for pennys. But no, let's pay billions for them instead.
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:18 AM   #78
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In my world (emergency medicine) 10 minutes is a long time. We spent 5 hours last night with part of our IT system off-line and the help desk "working on it". They finally gave up and said we would have to wait for the day crew. We limped to the finish line and exited with the comments that it is now a "DSP" (Day Shift Problem).

My favourite IT comment was when we were unable to print prescriptions one night because of a printer failure and were told that there is no one available to fix hardware at night. We were asked if we really needed to print prescriptions for patients "late at night" .

I do hear you though about $ support. Our hardware is outdated and overwhelmed. They are willing to spend money on software though - much of which works poorly. Oh and we will be "updating" to Windows XP service pack 3 mid-July .

DD
You have my sympathy!

I agree that 10 minutes is a lot of time in the clinical world - but they put the IT staff a 10 minute walk from where the doctor was. Even if they located IT staff closer (using up expensive hospital space) it still would take quite a while to reach some parts of the large hospital. There's really no good solution. This was a hardware problem so someone had to go to the PC.

We have a lot of software that isn't great - but is very expensive. I feel like we do the quality testing of the software, not the vendor.

We have 24/7 support although certainly it's less available at night. They don't pay shift differentials to IT staff - we get called at home if it's urgent and the help desk can't fix it. Shift differentials might make some people willing to actually work a night shift in IT .

We try to have workarounds in place. Actually where I work is very high-tech for a hospital/health system. But they moved the main IT support out to the suburbs to save money leaving only a few on-site people at each location and most of us are not. We can remote in and see the PC issue, though.

I mostly work on the financial programs so don't have too much contact with the clinical side. Which is okay with me, fewer night calls...

Another favorite call (not from a doctor) which has happened many times is the one we get at around 4 PM on a Friday - the caller says "this has been happening all week but I thought I should report it before I leave for the weekend."
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:21 AM   #79
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Certainly Health IT costs money, lots of money, but as I said you have to keep the system running ALL THE TIME No, a doctor will not wait 10 minutes for you to show up. Even in the classroom IT system no one would wait 10 minutes for a tech to show up and start fixing the system. One way or another you have to keep the systems running and respond, in person or electronically much faster.
It was a 10 minute walk to the location. In a huge building, there is no way to walk faster than that... No computer system works all the time, perfectly.
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:30 AM   #80
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American Airlines buying TWA ...

BOA buying Countrywide ...

Both on the verge of bankruptcy and could have had thier assest purchased for pennys. But no, let's pay billions for them instead.

Yeah but ... in the BOA/Countrywide case BOA was using somebbody else's money ...
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