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Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 11/18/13

November 18, 2013 Dr. Jayne 1 Comment


Lots of buzz this week around San Francisco’s “Batkid” fighting crime with the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The real heroes there were the people behind the scenes, coordinating to make this leukemia patient’s wish happen as he celebrated completion of three years of treatment. I’m fortunate to work with superheroes every day, although most of them are the unsung variety. I’d like to introduce you to a few of them.

The Desktop Support Agent. One of my favorite people in our health system’s IT universe, he lives in another time zone, but you’d never know it. It’s almost like he never sleeps. No matter what time of day I open my ticket, he always responds with a virtual smile. He relocated away from our city to be closer to family and is a great example of how remote employees can be an asset to the organization. I’ve had to call with some pretty ridiculous questions, including problems with my calendar appointments spontaneously mutating (a.k.a. user error) and my entire inbox vanishing. He’s very nonjudgmental when you call for newbie-type problems (or maybe he’s just good at hiding it). Without him our jobs would be a lot harder and I know many users take him for granted, so I always make sure he knows how much I appreciate him.

The Documentation Supervisor. This unsung hero works for our vendor and was instrumental in helping a small, rabid group of clients convince the legal team that it would be OK to give clients copies of the training manuals in editable format. For many years, they were afraid of this and would only provide PDF copies, which was silly since we ended up reproducing all their content anyway so that we could create end user training manuals. She manages an extremely diverse team and ensures that what the technical writers produce is in a truly human readable format. She encourages clients to provide feedback on the materials and actually incorporates the changes. I have to laugh because every once in a while she will slip in something that is a reference to one of the rabid clients – it might be a patient name on a screenshot or a practice address, but it’s always funny.

The Account Executive. Our hospital uses CCOW technology, which was originally provided by Sentillion, which was gobbled up by Microsoft. Although we had multiple systems live and sharing context, we ran into some roadblocks bringing up a new application. Microsoft played the “we don’t support that Software Development Kit anymore” card and our vendor was at the end of its rope as far as what it could do to try to bridge the gap. The Account Exec worked tirelessly on our behalf, calling in multiple favors and arranging calls with the actual developers who helped us code around the problem. It would certainly have been easier to just say no and go along with the party line, but I will be forever in his debt for helping us out.

The Hospital Volunteers. Ours used to be called “Pink Ladies,” but now they’re co-ed. Some of the veterans still wear pink smocks and that definitely puts a smile on my face since it reminds me of my days as a candy striper. They always greet you with a smile and even if you’re having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day you can’t help but be engaged by them. They will go out of their way to find things to make our oncology patients have a more comfortable stay, even tracking down unusual reading material. I could say I once saw one bring in a bottle of Scotch for a patient, but that would probably violate their circle of trust, so I wouldn’t dare.

The Citrix Guy. This is my absolute favorite superhero. When our IT department was a little less mature and a little less competent (did I just say that out loud?) he saved us. We had just deployed dozens of offices not only over Citrix, but using wireless at a time when it was a relatively new technology. Our team just wasn’t very good at it and we had all kinds of issues with dropped sessions, random application hangs, and misbehaving CCOW. He swooped in (I swear it was like he had a cape) and helped us fix our own dysfunction, yet never made our team feel less than capable even though they were. He travels 48 weeks out of the year and is in a different city nearly every week yet never seems tired or worn out. I don’t know how he does it.

There are many other unsung heroes we encounter every day. Who are yours? Email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

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