Monday, January 23, 2012

What Your Paper Log Book Says About Your Facility

Last week I visited a hospital to meet with a potential customer.  When I walked in, there were signs everywhere that read, “All visitors must sign in at Visitor Desk”.  Knowing what a potential risk unidentified visitors can pose to any facility, I was relieved to see that they had implemented a check in policy here. 

I followed the signs around the corner to the visitor check in station where I was greeted with a friendly smile and a paper log book.  A paper log?!  I couldn’t believe it.  Disappointed, I scribbled “Tinker Bell” in the log next to the time I arrived.  I told the woman behind the counter who I was here to meet with and she asked my name and called him to let him know I had arrived.  Not once did she ask to see my photo ID to verify I was who I claimed to be or did she check to ensure I signed in using that same name.  Once he was notified, she handed me a temporary visitor label that read VISITOR and asked me to take a seat in the waiting area.
While I waited for him to meet me, I silently watched similar interactions happen with the next five visitors.  Everyone who showed up was asked to sign in the paper log book, but not one person was asked to show any form of identification.  Once signed in, everyone was issued a generic visitor label and sent on their way to roam the hospital at their discretion. 

What are the biggest weaknesses of this system?
1.       Not once was there any validation of anyone’s ID

Without checking visitors' IDs and allowing them to simply sign the log as they please, you absolutely cannot guarantee an accurate record of who has been there.  I rarely use my real name in a log book.  If anything, I find paper logs to be an excellent opportunity to test my creative alter egos… Minnie Mouse, Doctor Pepper, Snow White… Whatever I choose, it certainly isn’t accurate.  And I guarantee I am not the only person doing this, which defeats the purpose of having the paper log in place to begin with!

2.       Anybody can read it

Why not just publish a list of everyone you do business with on your website for everyone to see?  A paper log is basically a public list of every person that has been in your building – vendors, contractors, parents, you name it… (Well those people using their real names anyway!)

3.       Log books are a hassle

What if an emergency or event ever happened and you actually had to rely on those logs for an accurate record of who was in your facility?  Going back through paper records manually to try to figure out who was in your building on a certain date at a certain time can be extremely frustrating, especially when compared to running an electronic report.   

Let’s face it; the paper log book is a completely antiquated way of managing visitor records.  Electronic visitor management offers a cost-effective method to securely track visitors, validate identities and run accurate reports, without the hassle!  The only downside is that as more and more facilities switch to electronic systems, I don’t get to make up as many fun names to sign in with anymore…

Lindsay Cornell is the Director of Sales for BadgePass, Inc.  BadgePass manufactures cutting edge ID Badging, Visitor Management and Access Control software.  Visit for more information.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Say Goodbye to Duplicate Medical Records

Duplicate medical records.  Say those three words to an IT Director or a CFO at any hospital in the country and I guarantee they will instantly cringe at the thought.  Despite their reaction, it is an ongoing nightmare that they are struggling with every single day. 

Why?  When Joseph Smith shows up on October 1st, he is registered at Joseph Smith.  When he returns a month later for a different ailment, he is registered as Joe Smith.  He is clearly the same person, but now he is registered as two different “people” in the system.  Multiply that time millions of people times millions of hospitals.  We’re talking about a problem that is costing our hospitals billions of dollars every year. 
Wouldn’t it be a lot simpler to simply scan Joe’s driver’s license the first time he showed up to the hospital and automatically populate his information into the system?  First name, Last name, Date of Birth, Address, Gender, Age… All of this information could be enrolled accurately and without any manual data entry errors.  Not to mention, extremely quickly!  Then, the next time he shows up at the same hospital, he can present his license again to search for his existing record to guarantee you don’t create a duplicate. 
Or here is an even better scenario.  What if you could create a loyalty card for Joe?  He could be issued a Patient ID card with his name and photo on it, along with a barcode so the next time he returned to the hospital, they could simply scan that card into the system to bring up his existing record.  Maybe that card could be used for special benefits in the hospital like discounts in the gift shop or a special line for faster patient registration.  Either way, it solves the issue of duplicate records and may even build some loyalty to your hospital or clinic. 
What are the biggest benefits of a Patient Loyalty solution?

1. It streamlines the enrollment process.
2. It reduces duplicate medical records.
3. It guarantees you pull up the correct patient record the moment they present their card.
4. It gives patients another reason to be loyal to your hospital or clinic. 

Hospitals all over the country are quickly adopting this Patient Loyalty solution.  The benefits drastically outweigh the costs.  Ask any IT Director to imagine his patient database without duplicate records.  Once he’s done chuckling, I guarantee he will smile…

Lindsay Cornell is the Director of Sales for BadgePass, Inc.  BadgePass manufactures identity and security software solutions including SmartReg, an Automated Enrollment application, as well as Identity Manager, Visitor Manager and Access Control. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Early Bird

Phillip King

Everyone is familiar with the old adage, “The Early Bird Gets the Worm.”  Well, the identification and security industry is no stranger to this claim.  My journey in this industry started as a high school student when I laughed at the notion that we couldn’t use our kitchen table to eat because my father was always testing new demo equipment on it.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but this would eventually define my core business values and fuel my desire to succeed.  Two years later, I started my career in the identification industry and the rest is history. 
As I take a look back on my career so far, the times that are most memorable are the years just following new innovations in our market.  Fortunately, those times generated some of the greatest profit and growth for our company.  There was the invention of the color ID printer, flat card printing in casinos, hospital wristband printing and first responder credentialing – just to name a few.  All of these events represent defining changes in our company’s history.  Yet, these changes were not so favorable for other companies.  So I have to ask myself, why did some companies, like ours, prosper in the years following these changes while others watched their market share slowly slip away?
To answer this question, we must first understand that all products in our industry go through the same lifecycle.  In my experience, products evolve through four stages: Innovation, Product Release, Market Acceptance, Stabilization and then back to Innovation.  Some stay in the Stabilization stage until they become a commodity and others make it back around to Innovation again for continued development.  Of the four stages, the Market Acceptance stage is where the most products are sold and the very best profits are made.  After all, that’s why companies invest so many millions of dollars in Innovation to ensure they have the best products available. 
The best way to ensure maximum success during the Market Acceptance stage is to get in the game BEFORE a product has reached this level.  If you can get on board with a product as soon as it is released and devote the resources necessary to really succeed with it, you can truly take off with it once it develops Market Acceptance.  As a company, we have not always gotten on board with products as early as we should have. 
For many years, we mastered the patient identification business in our region, providing more than 90% market share in desktop card embossing.  In the late 1990s, laser printed wristbands and labels began to slowly make an introduction into our hospital market.  Before you knew it, hospital customers were falling to laser generated forms like dominos.  At first, we hesitated to accept this drastic change in the way we did business.  Once we realized the market was most definitely heading that direction, we regrouped and found new vendors and products to align ourselves with and ensured that our sales and support staff were properly trained.  In that year alone, our company grew over $ 500,000 in revenue and company profits skyrocketed.  When I reflect on the scenario today, I wonder what those numbers would have looked like had we gotten involved at an earlier stage in the game. 
A better example of a time that we got involved very early on was in 1993 when Datacard first released the color photo ID system.  As a Datacard dealer, we were fortunate to have access to a product long before many people knew what it was or what it would mean to the industry.  As a company, we took a big leap of faith and invested a lot of money in demo equipment, training and staff to support this new product.  We even spun off a completely separate company to focus on this product alone.  The major investment ended up paying off for us, and being an early adopter of this technology ended up completely changing our company’s future.  It taught me that the earlier you get involved when a new technology comes out, the more profitable you will be over the lifecycle of that product. 
What is changing in our market today? Identity Convergence, Tablet PCs, Cloud Computing, Security Convergence, Smartcard Technology, NFC, Smart Devices, Windows 8, etc… The future is now!  What technologies are you and your company investing in?  Align yourself with industry leaders that are changing the game.  If you invest the resources necessary to succeed, you will win big in the long run. 

Phillip King is Vice President of ID Group, Inc., a local identification and security integrator in Mississippi and Louisiana and President of BadgePass, Inc., a developer of ground-breaking software solutions for the identity and security industry.

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