Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cool technology of the week

I'd like to start a new feature of my blog, which will appear every Friday. It's called "the cool technology of the week". Every week I meet with vendors, pilot new devices, and hear from my staff about the latest information technology products. When I find something that has potential, I'll describe it here.

My first cool technology of the week, is the Orb, a "glance-able" user interface available here. The concept is simple. The Orb is a handblown etched glass sphere containing LEDs for every color of the rainbow plus a text pager interface with an XML parser. Just plug the Orb in any geography in the US that's covered by a paging service. Now the creative part begins. Would your senior executives like to be informed about quality metrics, financial metrics, or workflow metrics? Just pick a color, write a simple interface and you're done. For example, when Emergency Department waiting times are under an hour, he Orb could glow green. When times are between 1-2 hours, the Orb glows yellow. Between 2-3 hours, the Orb glows red. Over 3 hours, flashing red. Place orbs at the nursing stations, in waiting rooms, or on the CEO's desk etc. Metrics are turned into a web service call that results in a page to the Orb every 5 minutes, updating the color.

I've ordered one and I'll be placing all my IT uptime metrics on an Orb feed. At the front desk of Beth Israel Deaconess, you'll soon see a "glance-able" dashboard of the current state of all our applications and infrastructure.

7 comments:

Matt said...

This is like taking the dashboard off the computer screen or paper report. It's a very innovative idea.

I could see a demanding CEO with several orbs around their office, all blinking and glowing, signaling some important information.

This of course, leads wonder about what information you regularly push to the CEO / Board. What your Dashboard or balanced score card looks like. Any chance to get a peak at what they see?

John Halamka said...

I will write a blog in the next two weeks on performance measure at BIDMC. Thanks for the idea

Paul Levy said...

Love the orb, John. The possibilities are endless. You could even have one on the front desk of a clinic or an emergency department (or in a restaurant or the Registry of Motor Vehicles) so people waiting could know at a glance what the relative waits are likely to be.

To matt's point, for a CEO, an important metric might be the real-time average clinic or ED waiting time compared to the improvement target for the year. Wanna buy me an orb, John, and rig it up for that?

Jen M. Gorman said...

John -


This. is. awesome.

First thing on the Christmas list.

I can see planning it for call volume, number of patients waiting for our clinic vs. capacity, number of residents lined up for lunch (or yet to leave their rooms to head to the dining area), all manner of things.

Of course, like any great new tech, I can see this being a nightmare for employees with a manager who tends towards, ah, the micro view. Transparency requires a commitment to organizational improvement at all levels, and an ACTUAL versus VOICED commitment at that.
(Yes sir, the orb is red again? Can we bring that item up at the management meeting for the 20th time? Maybe the issue will be addressed and action items/tasks will be delegated to implement suggested improvements?)

Methinks the orb might actually help managers learn to release intrusive or unregulated tendencies of this type, as transparency (as literally demonstrated by a glowing orb)increases overall organizational awareness.

Jen M. Gorman said...

John -


This. is. awesome.

First thing on the Christmas list.

I can see planning it for call volume, number of patients waiting for our clinic vs. capacity, number of residents lined up for lunch (or yet to leave their rooms to head to the dining area), all manner of things.

Of course, like any great new tech, I can see this being a nightmare for employees with a manager who tends towards, ah, the micro view. Transparency requires a commitment to organizational improvement at all levels, and an ACTUAL versus VOICED commitment at that.
(Yes sir, the orb is red again? Can we bring that item up at the management meeting for the 20th time? Maybe the issue will be addressed and action items/tasks will be delegated to implement suggested improvements?)

Methinks the orb might actually help managers learn to release intrusive or unregulated tendencies of this type, as transparency (as literally demonstrated by a glowing orb)increases overall organizational awareness.

平平 said...

^^Thanks!!

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