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How is your workflow?

It is a Wednesday afternoon.  You were hoping to get out of work on time or a few minutes early.  You have completed the work on a piece of imaging equipment and are trying to get your tools put away so that you can get home and get into your evening.  Kid’s activities, movie night with the significant other, time to play with the dog, or just some time to ramble around and get some yard work done.  It is just a Wednesday night, no reason to hang around work.  But, the work order is not yet complete.  But you can do it Thursday, so no big deal.

Thursday morning comes and there is a down CT/MRI/Cath Lab/Fluoro room/portable unit.  You get through that and get the paperwork done, have a few calls of minor things to take care of and you put off the work order for the work you did Wednesday.  One of two things happens at this point.  You either eventually get the documentation completed, or it falls away

For most hospitals and companies, the documentation of work that is put on a work order takes no more than fifteen minutes.  Many of us are fortunate enough to work with a laptop that allows us to enter the documentation on site.  The tendency is to think about documentation after the work is completed.  The work order is considered a separate job.  This does make sense, write the work order when the job is completed.  But is that the best workflow?  Could the workflow be improved to reduce the time spent on completing the work order as well as improve the detail and have fewer work orders disappear into the realm of the incomplete?

Here is the ideal workflow.  The first tool you take out is the laptop.  Get a job opened and document the start time and symptoms as reported by the operator.  Next, document the symptoms that you find.  As you troubleshoot, you document any major software test completed as well as any voltage measurements and waveforms.  Do you see wear on cables or mechanics?  Document it.  It is easy to document when the work order is already open.

This is a simple process that makes your documentation part of you workflow.  It makes the detail of your documentation improve.  This also creates the habit of finishing each work order as the work is completed.  It does require a bit of a paradigm shift.  Yet if the habit is created, it will lend to a more complete maintenance system.


John has twenty years experience in imaging service including general radiation, mammography, CT, and Nuclear Medicine. He has worked for third party service companies, manufacturers sales companies, and in house imaging teams. Currently John is the manager of clinical engineering at Catholic Health. John holds a B.S. in Health and Human Services Management from Wilberforce University.



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