Vince Ciotti


Episode # 42:

Bedside Terminals
© 2011 H.I.S. Professionals, LLC

Bedside Terminal Revolution
‡ You may remember from an earlier HIStory episode how daring it was when Mike Mulhall (of later fame as SMS VP of IDs) dared to place a 1052 terminal on the nurse stations at Monmouth Hospital in NJ back in 1968 as part of IBM s pioneering HIS project there. ‡ In the event, the Selectric style keyboard was so cumbersome to RNs and even Ward Clerks (no Unit Secretaries back then) that Mike ended up putting them in the basement where Kelly Girls typed in orders phoned down from the floors (earliest scribes! ). ‡ Well, we are now going to see how it was not about 15 years later when microprocessors of the early 80s allowed devices to penetrate that most hollowed sanctum of hospitals: patient rooms themselves, soon to be known as Bedside Terminals.

The Bedside Pioneer
‡ And just who was the early DP vendor who pioneered this move of terminals down the hall from nurse stations to patient rooms? ‡ I ll give you some hints (and I ll bet many of you get it wrong!):
± Starting in the 1880s, this firm was one of the first to establish a formal inventions department in essence, the first R&D in office equipment. ± The founder and CEO was a sales maven, who literally wrote the book in sales training, sales quotas, commission plans and marketing strategies. ± The firm introduced classy brochures that described products in glowing terms with skillful descriptions and profusely illustrated graphics. ± By 1928, this pioneering company posted $50M in annual revenue, making it one of the top 4 leading firms in early office machinery suppliers.

‡ One of its early sales superstars was Tom Watson, who cut his teeth selling pianos to famers in upstate NY in the late 1800s. ‡ Only natural this office gear pioneer would be the first to build a bedside terminal, so ‡ Who was this pioneering firm??

NOT IBM!!!!!!!!
‡ Gotcha, huh? It was the National Cash Register Company NCR! ‡ Tom Watson Sr. started with them as a sales rep and learned his skills from NCR s founder, John Patterson, who started NCR way back in 1884. ‡ By 1908, Watson was promoted to sales manager at NCR, but in 1911, Patterson fired him (sound like any arrogant vendor CEO you know?). ‡ Watson left and took his amazing sales skills to C-T-R, the firm who inherited the Hollerith punched card system, which later morphed into IBM. Meanwhile, back to bedside terminals, and NCR s breakthrough:

No Peanut !!
‡ Around 1982, NCR launched an amazing project to build a device that RNs could hand-carry right into a patient s room to record vital signs
± Temperature, Pulse & Respiration (TPR)

‡ They called this breakthrough device the PNUT for Portable Nursing Unit Terminal, and was it ever hot! ‡ Pictured on the right is a 30-year old brochure I saved from the 80s, on which I wrote the name & phone # of NCR s PNUT Product Manager: ± Wayne Roach are you out there Wayne? Gimmee a call or email!! ‡ An early developer of the PNUT was:

PNUT Developer
‡ (Just amazing what you can find on the Internet these days ) ‡ Pictured on the left is Bob Reminick, Project Engineer at NCR from 1982 1984, responsible for the Electrical Systems and Software design and test for the PNUT and its "Cradle" (docking station). Are you out there, Bob? ‡ Like everyone else in the HIS industry back the 80s, I was fascinated by the ads for the PNUT that ran in Modern Healthcare, HMFA, etc. ‡ What an amazing jump from desktop PCs and floppy disks! ‡ The device offered an enormous improvement over the thencurrent practice of RNs scribbling patient s vital signs on scraps of paper, their scrubs, or even the back of their hands, and then carrying the info back to the nurse station where it was copied onto TPR logs in the chart, with the inevitable transcription errors

PNUT s Keyboard
‡ Pictured on the right is the PNUT s diminutive keyboard through which nurses keyed in the patients names, room number, etc. (no bar coding) ‡ Doesn t this look like an inspiration for the Blackberry, iPhone, and scores of other modern PDAs!? ‡ Sadly, the PNUT did not sell well, despite gazillions of leads from techno-horny DONs (Director of Nursing no CNOs back then!). ‡ They had little budget to buy hightech IT gizmos, and since it touched patients, NCR had the usual challenging time with the FDA

Want to learn more
‡ About this amazing bedside pioneer? Then chase down this FDA website and read on ‡ (Makes you wonder how in the world did they ever write history books back before the age of Google, Wikipedia, Yahoo, Bling )

‡ In the next episode on bedside terminal systems, we ll cover one whose founder walked into Sheldon Dorenfests office in 1985 where we helped him found a firm that lives on to this day

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