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Old 06-12-2010, 12:51 AM   #121
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At this point, I am so mad I am tempted to take my newfound skills and sell them to the highest bidder who wants an employee that will help them play rope-a-dope with the oxygen-wasting bureaucrats who attempt to enforce regulations in between bouts of drooling.
You've read Michael Lewis' "The Big Short", right? OK, you're ready.
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:00 AM   #122
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Proper system design includes response time. You don't put the nurses or the crash cart 10 minutes from the patients. The mission drives the system design, not the other way around.
You are so correct - couple of good stories - warning: I am a biomedical engineer who also has worked for IT.

Medical devices are becoming more and more able to be networked - HOWEVER - just because they are able to do that, doesn't mean it should be done. Case in point - I would never have a ventilator rely upon the network to work - it needs to be stand-alone as it is a life-critical device when in use.

Another story - I'm sitting in a project meeting with a cath lab manager and a bunch of IT personnel - they are all talking about an upcoming cath lab project. After listening to IT talk for 45 minutes, of which the cath lab manager was able to participate meaningully, he made the comment, "I've learned your language, now you need to learn mine!" I laughed out loud. It is so true.....

It is because decisions are made without an understanding at times of how it might affect the clinical operations that caused the IT management to be replaced or re-organized every 6 months to 1 year or so. I think they had good intentions, but they are very insular.

We were replacing the EMR system in the ICU and the IT guy on the phone wanted to go by the ICU to see my portion of the project. I told him we'd need to get the approval of the head nurse and be very careful to not disrupt the place. I also told him that if an emergency happened, he better be ready to see anything. I then called up the BMET and told him if we could set it up so some blood went flying it would definitely educate this guy. He went and was agog at what went on in there. Mind you, this is someone on a team who is about to disrupt the whole clinical operation due to this EMR project....the ignorance that was allowed by those who managed the project was amazing. I felt like a tape recorder, "Yes, that might be a good idea in an IT company, but it isn't one in a healthcare company," "So you mean avoiding an email storm is more important that having the ultrasound technician be able to move around to different rooms to do ultrasounds and then send that imaging information to the PACS?" Sigh. I still work - actually in this area. Classic, classic issues.
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Old 06-12-2010, 06:17 AM   #123
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Excellent analogy!

I did a PhD and Post-doc before deciding the research career was way too much work and funding was getting very difficult. I was finishing up when they made the big changes to the whole R01 grant system in the 90's. Job security is much better in medicine.

DD
My mother told me to learn how to cook and marry a doctor. So I did that and she supported me so I could afford to be a professor. I give all my engineering students the same advice. If they can learn thermodynamics they can learn to cook and there is a hungry doctor out there for everyone of them without regard to race creed color or sexual orientation
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Old 06-12-2010, 06:57 AM   #124
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I always have fun explaining to people how a research university works.I explained it once to the Board of Regents. I said the University was like a professional sports team. The Regents were the owners, their job was to provide the stadium. The Deans etc were the GM and coaches. Their job was to help us do our job. And the faculty were the players. No one pays to see the coach.

A university is effectively a giant consulting firm. Every college, department, institute, laboratory and even individual faculty members are running a business. Income is money and students and output is degrees and research. Like all faculty members I was in charge of revenue, production , sales, hiring and meeting teaching and research goals for my tiny shop.
To give some examples I never spent a dollar of ordinary university travel money in my entire career. I never had a computer that I did not raise the money to buy. I never had a graduate student that I did not support. I always raised my own summer salary . And my operation was small.
Other faculty ran much bigger operations. we had faculty bringing in and spending 5 million a year. In such an environment the job of the management is to keep the lights on (i.e. look after the shared resources), keep the undergraduates from burning the place down. keep the politicians off our back and raise "start up" funds for new activities. They get a percentage of what we bring in for their services.

"Managing" such a herd of cats is almost impossible. Inspired academic leaders, like good coaches, bring out the best in each faculty member. But every body knows who does the work
Great description. When I was a tech at Lamont (of Columbia U.) that is how it worked. Those that brought in the big grants were kings and could hire the best techs. The ones that did not were sent packing.

By the way, Columbia took IIRC 51% of all money brought in for overhead and operating expenses. Salaries buildings infrastructure etc..

AGU (American Geophysical Union) meetings were religiously attended by PIs (principal investigators) - networking for jobs, gossip and funding sources, some time actually was spent listening to presentations of papers.
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Old 06-12-2010, 08:34 AM   #125
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Every prescription I've had was hand written by my doctor. Could a manual backup system have been improvised?
Here you go.....

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Old 06-12-2010, 08:37 AM   #126
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Excellent analogy!

I did a PhD and Post-doc before deciding the research career was way too much work and funding was getting very difficult. I was finishing up when they made the big changes to the whole R01 grant system in the 90's. Job security is much better in medicine.

DD
+1

I have become jaded with academic politics. For that's what it is. Always having to position yourself, market your value....
When people need urgent healthcare, they don't need much convincing.
But they are not convinced that my services are worth what DblDoc earns!
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Old 06-12-2010, 08:44 AM   #127
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My mother told me to learn how to cook and marry a doctor. So I did that and she supported me so I could afford to be a professor. I give all my engineering students the same advice. If they can learn thermodynamics they can learn to cook and there is a hungry doctor out there for everyone of them without regard to race creed color or sexual orientation
Your mother was wise. We doctors love someone who will cook for us!

I have a colleague whose husband is a chef. When they had kids he became a househusband. After a hard day at the clinic, my colleague comes home to her slippers, a glass of wine and a gourmet meal. The kids are fed and watered, and life is good.
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Old 06-12-2010, 08:53 AM   #128
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You've read Michael Lewis' "The Big Short", right? OK, you're ready.
Nope, don't need to. Woo boy, the stories I will never be allowed to tell...
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Old 06-12-2010, 09:08 AM   #129
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Your mother was wise. We doctors love someone who will cook for us!

I have a colleague whose husband is a chef. When they had kids he became a househusband. After a hard day at the clinic, my colleague comes home to her slippers, a glass of wine and a gourmet meal. The kids are fed and watered, and life is good.
Now that I am Emeritus , every day I take my wife to work and bring her home. She has always had a real lunch (no sandwiches) that I made and packed for her. I won't say its gourmet but its always there. In 35 years if I have been at home and not sick she has never cooked a meal. I also went on all the school field trips. There are lots of photos of me ironing her clothes on business trips. In fairness she is a whiz with a soldering iron and can make computers dance. She is one of the world pioneers in health care information systems.

A surprising number of our faculty are married to physicians. It makes a good fit.
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Old 06-12-2010, 09:18 AM   #130
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+1

I have become jaded with academic politics. For that's what it is. Always having to position yourself, market your value....
When people need urgent healthcare, they don't need much convincing.
But they are not convinced that my services are worth what DblDoc earns!
Its not politics in the classic sense, it's a business. A very tough business. We sometimes laughed at private sector and government research types who don't have to justify their existence and budget on a monthly basis. Every so often we would hire a government or industry type who did not understand that in a research university you don't get travel money for conferences or meetings, even though attendance at such meetings is critical to your career. They also didn't understand why faculty were routinely paid more than department chairs or deans. That's when I would point out that star athletes are paid more than coaches.
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Old 06-12-2010, 10:31 AM   #131
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A paper jam is akin to constipation, right?
[OT]Did you here about the constipated mathematician? He worked it out with a pencil![/OT]
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.. They also didn't understand why faculty were routinely paid more than department chairs or deans. That's when I would point out that star athletes are paid more than coaches.
I believe that all people who become Uni Professors have no clue how it really works. Only the flexible thrive when they discover that they must successly market themselves and their operations.
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Old 06-12-2010, 11:01 AM   #132
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I believe that all people who become Uni Professors have no clue how it really works. Only the flexible thrive when they discover that they must successly market themselves and their operations.
At our shop you had it drilled into you from day one. Beginning Assistant professors are generally in their low 30s and it takes longer to create a fully fundable university Professor than any other profession. Almost no one becomes a full Professor before the age of 40, for many its later.
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Old 06-12-2010, 12:17 PM   #133
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This is a great thread. It reminded me why I have always loved the Dilbert comics (Scott Adams) and the movie "Office Space."

I could fill a dozen pages with the HR and management misadventures I have experienced during 41 years of work. From multiple DoD jobs ending as a consultant back to the government with an immediate increase of 50 points in my IQ and credibility. From moronic ideas such as TQM for office workers (let's ask line employees for their suggestions for improvement and then ignore them) to Merit Pay (screw your buddy to feed your family) to the NSPS (recently ended) to company polices that are incoherent and morale busting. I thought I had pretty much seen it all, but you folks have given me new hope that there is far more idiocy out there than I had ever thought.

Latest fiasco - I work for a smallish company that employs many retired feds/military. Most of us are not looking to work more than 5 to 7 years after first retirement and then really retire. Annual performance sheets we fill out always ask what training we need to do our jobs (duhhh, if we weren't fully trained already, we would not have been hired, nor could we be immediately billed at $250 an hour) and what are our career goals. The latter is my favorite - I always say the same thing - I had a career - this is not a career - it's a way to increase my savings for retitirement - it's a job- if you want to spend money on training, do it for the younger folks who need it. Almost as much fun as when HR tells me what a wonderful long term future I have with the company. What is it about "I'm already retired and looking forward to full retirement in a few years don't you understand?"

The really great thing about being in a position like this is that you can get away with just about any level of outrageous behavior. They really need you a lot more than you need them. And you can be as sarcastic as you like. As long as I am billing, I am golden to them.
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Old 06-12-2010, 12:25 PM   #134
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This is a great thread. It reminded me why I have always loved the Dilbert comics (Scott Adams) and the movie "Office Space."

I could fill a dozen pages with the HR and management misadventures I have experienced during 41 years of work. From multiple DoD jobs ending as a consultant back to the government with an immediate increase of 50 points in my IQ and credibility. From moronic ideas such as TQM for office workers (let's ask line employees for their suggestions for improvement and then ignore them) to Merit Pay (screw your buddy to feed your family) to the NSPS (recently ended) to company polices that are incoherent and morale busting. I thought I had pretty much seen it all, but you folks have given me new hope that there is far more idiocy out there than I had ever thought.

Latest fiasco - I work for a smallish company that employs many retired feds/military. Most of us are not looking to work more than 5 to 7 years after first retirement and then really retire. Annual performance sheets we fill out always ask what training we need to do our jobs (duhhh, if we weren't fully trained already, we would not have been hired, nor could we be immediately billed at $250 an hour) and what are our career goals. The latter is my favorite - I always say the same thing - I had a career - this is not a career - it's a way to increase my savings for retitirement - it's a job- if you want to spend money on training, do it for the younger folks who need it. Almost as much fun as when HR tells me what a wonderful long term future I have with the company. What is it about "I'm already retired and looking forward to full retirement in a few years don't you understand?"

The really great thing about being in a position like this is that you can get away with just about any level of outrageous behavior. They really need you a lot more than you need them. And you can be as sarcastic as you like. As long as I am billing, I am golden to them.
Oh crap, flashbacks.
Zero Defects?
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Old 06-12-2010, 12:49 PM   #135
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Oh crap, flashbacks.
Zero Defects?
Performance Excellence
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:17 PM   #136
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Performance Excellence
"measurable learning outcomes" (ABET want these)

My answer "student will become proficient in recognizing worthless evaluations and will develop a deep life-long learning skill at responding appropriately so the student can get on with a career that far exceeds the potential of the people who want measurable learning outcomes" IIRC my chair said I had the right idea but could I rephrase it.
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:32 PM   #137
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Nope, don't need to. Woo boy, the stories I will never be allowed to tell...
But you can use the knowledge you acquired!

I just finished my first read of The Big Short and concluded that Lewis needed to access the shorting investors because of the confidentiality agreements covering the insiders. One source that comes to mind was a former bond merchant whose approach to investment bankers was "how do you plan to s**w me?"

If any lawyer can break a couple key confidentiality agreements . . . .
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:46 PM   #138
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A paper jam is akin to constipation, right?
If you're a mathematician, you just work it out with a pencil.


Added on edit: Oops.
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Old 06-12-2010, 02:04 PM   #139
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From moronic ideas such as TQM for office workers (let's ask line employees for their suggestions for improvement and then ignore them) to Merit Pay (screw your buddy to feed your family) to the NSPS (recently ended) to company polices that are incoherent and morale busting.
NSPS has ended already? I just missed out on it in DoD when I retired in Feb 2007, I guess it's no real surprise that it didn't work out.
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Old 06-12-2010, 02:26 PM   #140
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NSPS has ended already? I just missed out on it in DoD when I retired in Feb 2007, I guess it's no real surprise that it didn't work out.
It's in the final death throes. Congress says it must end and DoD is trying to unwind it. It might have been semi-functional had the PM running it listened to employee input, but we were completely ignored during the demo phase and any comments not praising it were considered to be those of malcontents. The main problems were that the appriasal system was extremely complex and time consuming and final scores/raises/awards were made by groups of people who did not actually know the employees or what they did. There was lots of talk about "contributions to the mission," but employees could not do anything about the organization they worked in or the type of work they did (not the quality), so if their organization was judged to be less important to the DoD mission than another, they were already out of luck.

In the end it cost a fortune to implement and did little but lower morale. As with most similar systems, it was underfunded, lacked any real checks and balances and used the same bell curve/quota system that everyone is complaining about.

At least it wasn't as bad as Jack Welch of GE - remember him? He said (and implemented at GE) the bottom 10% of the workforce (in ratings) should be fired each year, regardless of the actual quality of their work or the effort they put into it. Unless you have some real sluggards, in a few years you are firing good people who do good jobs, but, for whatever reasons, end up in that bottom 10%.
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