General Question

kevbo's avatar

What's a paperless solution to distribution and review of information packets for hospital board meetings?

Asked by kevbo (25649points) June 22nd, 2010 from iPhone

My gf’s boss wants to migrate their hospital’s board packets from paper to iPads, but we are wondering if there’s a more cost effective solution. Here are the parameters:

1. Board packets are comprised of 100 or more sheets of paper primarily containing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. The pages include color copies in part because the hospital system uses a red light, yellow light, and green light motif to illustrate the status of key indicators and measurements.

2. Packets are distributed well in advance of board meetings to 12 or more board members to give them time to review the information in preparation for the upcoming meeting.

3. Board members need the information in front of them at the meeting.

4. I don’t know whether board members will keep the devices and download the information themselves or whether hospital staff (i.e. my gf) will preload the devices and physically distribute the devices and collect them at the end of each board meeting.

5. Part of the motivation is to cut time standing at the photocopier and collating.

I’ll answer any questions. Thanks!!!

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16 Answers

missingbite's avatar

It sounds like you have the solution. Convert the packets into PDF format and download them to the iPads. I would let the board members keep the iPads as the future info can be emailed to each person.

cheebdragon's avatar

iPads for everyone! Can I get one too?

LuckyGuy's avatar

What about using their exiting lap tops. Don’t they all have them already?
Does the conference room have a projector?.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Someone can do a cost analysis of what would be the cheapest way to go. With only 12 or more board members, my guess is that it would be cheaper to go with printing and mailing.

If your g/f’s supervisor really wants to get the information across to the board members before the meeting, he/she should find out what method of communication they would prefer. Some people are content with reading it in PDF format on a computer, others want a paper copy, while some prefer audio. Encourage them to be creative and offer options. Don’t let them fall into the trap of doing something technically savvy if the intended audience wouldn’t use it. It will probably save company money in the long run and generate the desired result.

kevbo's avatar

@worriedguy, it’s all on paper, currently. No laptops.

@Pied_Pfeffer, I think multiple formats will create more work in the distribution workflow (especially audio), but thanks for the suggestion.

Seaofclouds's avatar

What about putting all the information on a disc and giving each board member the disc in advance? Then if they want to print it they can or they can view it on their computer (they probably have a computer they could use to view the information).

PandoraBoxx's avatar

SharePoint WSS is a great enterprise wide tool that could be implemented at the hospital not only for the board meeting solution but to enhance communications across the organization. Basically, with SharePoint you build web pages for each department/project. Access to the pages can be enterprise wide or limited to a specified group of users, and reside behind the firewall. There are different site formats, including libraries, wikis, lists, etc. You can upload any sort of document to it, keep a calendar on it, track who’s accessed the site, edit documents, export to excel, and all sorts of wonderful things.

The pages have URLs and the authorized users can access the materials from anywhere they have access to the internal servers.

SharePoint comes in two types : WSS and MOSS. MOSS is more robust, but there is no cost for WSS, and it could be implemented on an enterprise wide basis, so the overall use extends beyond the board.

Jeruba's avatar

Downside of any electronic format:

1. Recipients can’t annotate, mark, or highlight pages without the use of special software (such as Adobe Acrobat Pro for PDFs) .
2. They can’t stick Post-Its on the pages.
3. They can’t have several pages open at one time for quick reference during a meeting.
4. They can’t read, review, and refer to the reports without using a tool that requires power. Very awkward for people who crib spare moments in airports, in dentists’ waiting rooms, and in bed to get through their required reading.

Unless they print everything out. And then it won’t look as good as the source docs unless they go to a lot of trouble.

Can’t you print, collate, and bind an awful lot of pages (or have Kinko’s do it) for the cost of a dozen electronic devices?—especially since you are going to hear “Can’t you just print me a copy?” anyway?

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@Jeruba, you can do all of that in Word if you turn on “Track Changes” and comments. It doesn’t require special tools (and I use Office 2003 at work).

Jeruba's avatar

@PandoraBoxx, all of that? Or just point 1?

I am familiar with Track Changes. It’ll never, ever be as clear or efficient as a pencil and a highllighter.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@Jeruba, I’m looking at what’s in Word on my Mac and I can mark up document in and have my changes tracked, I can add and edit comments, there’s a highlighter that I can mark lines of text, and I can have several documents open at once and go back and forth between documents under Windows on the tool bar. If I select split under Windows, I can have two copies of the same document open, and edit one in one window, and leave the other untouched, but see both of them at the same time.

With SharePoint, you can actually route documents for review and track it, because there’s a simple workflow system within the application.

You can access a website with a netbook from just about anywhere.

kevbo's avatar

@Seaofclouds, that’s certainly possible, but I think it’s probably too much to ask/require of board members without providing some kind of compensation… I don’t have enough info to investigate that further.

@PandoraBoxx, I’m not sure how they would connect during meetings, since there’s no hospital WiFi (it’s a small town hospital).

@Jeruba, excellent points. Maybe it would be better just to outsource it. The major downside to that is letting that confidential information out. Like I said, it’s a small town and secrets don’t stay that way for too long. You’re right, though, about it being the most direct and convenient format.

I don’t mean to keep shooting down everyone’s responses. I think this is more of one of those sorting out solutions by talking them through exercises, so thank you for your responses so far.

Jeruba's avatar

@kevbo, sending out highly confidential docs for copying is a risk, all right. Maybe it would be worth taking them to the next town. But electronic documents seem looser by far. Anyone can easily copy and distribute a file. A hundred color-printed pages are by no means so readily hijacked. It seems to me that putting cost considerations first in this instance is definitely setting the wrong priority.

I don’t see where you said anything earlier about a small town and confidentiality.

kevbo's avatar

that was in my comment to @PandoraBoxx… sorry to be unclear.

Flavio's avatar

Few thoughts, the information has to be disseminated in a very private manner, especially if there are patient-related issues.

I am a resident in a large urban hospital. Our housestaff union, CIR-SEIU, has in our contract $112,000 every year for residents to use and buy equipment that will improve quality of care for patients. This year, the committee that manages applications to this Patient Care Fund approved the purchase of 10 ipads for the radiology departments so we can show pts information about their imaging and better explain invasive procedures without having to take the patients into the reading rooms where they may be able to see confidential info about other patients. This is a pilot project. The way the radiologists download the information into the ipad is via a special setup in the docking station. When the ipad syncs with the computer, they choose which files to download and all the previous files get erased. This way, we are only temporarily liable for hippa violations. all the info stays in the hospital at all times and the ipads only work on computers inside the hospital network (theoretically).

In your case, could one assume that the board members of the hospital have an interest in protecting confidential info? If so, an Ipad with the info could be fedexed to them prior to the meeting and they leave it behind after the meeting so it could be updated with the next set of documents.

mattbrowne's avatar

Sending out emails with links to a website for example managed with Sharepoint hosting all the meeting minutes and other docs.

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