Are buttons pushing your buttons?

Anyone who has worked within a hospital, specifically in perioperative services knows that healthcare providers have a habit for using “sticky” things to capture data. Whether its removing a sticker off a product and placing it on a “charge sheet”, putting the sticker on our own lab coat to record later or even using post it notes to remind employees to follow procedures… “sticky” things work best. Seems kind of Neanderthal in our technology driven world doesn’t it? But this is simply human beings at there finest, solving problems and attempting to make their lives easier, after all how else are they supposed to capture the information that drive hospital revenues, budgets and decision making?

However we should become skeptical when the “sticky note” tactic is applied to a process that has supposedly been automated by an expensive piece of technology. The image aside is one of any number (which I would be curious to know what that total is) of notes stuck onto Pyxis and Omnicell inventory management cabinets reminding perioperative employees to PUSH THE BUTTON!

Why is pushing the button so important? And why do the end users have to make there own signs from post it notes to help insure these buttons are pushed?  Shouldn’t the cabinets come with a built in sign, some form of reminder, heck the least they could do is include a free stack of post it notes right?

To answer these questions I need to point no further than this article of the  Sleepy Times which is the Medical University of South Carolina’s department of anesthesia’s cleverly named news letter.

“We were busy trying to get everyone to push buttons for everything they use in the pyxis, and we will stay busy until everyone does. If you remove something from the pyxis, push the button. This not only generates charges, it guarantees the items used will be restocked. It’s everyone’s responsibility. Thanks in advance for your attention to this.” -Wendy Ewing, CRNA

Wendy we feel your pain, which is why all of Mobile Aspects systems are designed with efficient clinical workflows as our top priority.  So next time you read about a supposedly “automated” inventory system don’t forget to ask how many buttons you need to push and if the manufacturer will be providing the “reminder” notes with the purchase.