3.7.6. Has been Released

Version 3.7.6 is now on general release. The headline feature in this release is the interactive dashboard, which you can read about here in the article about the user-group meeting. The dashboard is fully documented in the Help but it’s a bit too long to reproduce here. If you email Jack, Sarah or Phil they will send you a PDF version. The diagrams don’t fit perfectly but you’ll certainly get the general idea.

There are some other new features that have been requested by users as well. Here is a summary:


1. The address tab of the personnel property page now has an email link field which will open your default email client. The link field is read-only and is automatically copied from the email field when it is edited. To use the link, move the mouse over the formatted email address and press control + left mouse click

Importing Data

1. Spare Parts Import

It is now possible to import spare part lists using the Excel Import Wizard. The following attributes can be imported:
Spare Part Code
Part No
Short Name
Effective Price
Bin Location
Bin Code
Bin Name

2. The Caller Ref field has been added to the job import.

Additional RFID Interface

1. An interface has been added for the Lyngsoe RFID equipment tracking application.

Quick Report

It is now possible to force Quick Report to restrict records for child sites, locations and services.

TNA Report

It is now possible to force the TNA Report to include staff records for child locations and child services.

KPI (NPAG) Reports

It is now possible to force the NPAG KPI Reports to include staff records for child sites, locations and services.


1. Task date validation has changed. Previously it was not possible for the task start or end dates to post-date the job’s work end date. However, some users create tasks to record administrative work and quality assurance checks which do not start until the work has completed.

Security & Permissions

Previously there were five permission levels that could be granted to groups for each entity. These were:


In order to deactivate or reactivate records the user was required to have Control permission, which was the highest level. This meant that users who could deactivate records could also delete records, which was not always desirable.

A separate permission has now been added called Archive, specifically to allow users to deactivate or reactivate records.

Spare Part Orders

1. A new utility has been added to simplify the process of adding multiple, similar line items to an order.

An Add Batch button has been added to the line items tab of the order property page.

This will display a screen which allows your batch selections to be entered:

After clicking Ok, a line item will be created for each member of the batch. i.e. the example above would create 5 line items rows.

2. The Order Finder has been added to provide QBE (Query-by-Example) support for orders.



1. A new tab has been added to the orders property page to list all orders for that supplier. It is possible to edit an order by double-clicking on it and you can also raise orders from this tab.

If you would like an upgrade then please contact the support team. As always, any feedback is more than welcome.




Philips Biomed Conference, 2017

As usual, we will be attending the annual Philips Biomed Conference this year, or the National Biomedical and Clinical Engineering Conference, 2017, to give it its official name. Philips are branding this as the “20th” and those of you who have known us for a while will remember seeing us there back in the Hewlett Packard days. The first one I went to was the 2nd, held at the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham. It certainly doesn’t seem like 19 years ago. Things have changed a great deal since then – I wonder whatever became of Agilent!

If you’re at the conference then please drop by our stand to say hello. Depending on your demographic you can chat with Peter and myself about how the “Y2K Problem” brought the world to its knees, or look at up-to-the-minute features like RFID tracking, nurse training etc. with Phil, Sarah & Jack.

See you there!


Geography versus Organisation

I have almost certainly posted about this before but the topic came up again recently so I thought I’d just run through the differences in e-Quip between geography and organisation. Have a look at the home page of a typical hospital – your own web site probably looks very similar.

Take a look at the sections that I’ve highlighted in red boxes. At the top, right-hand corner is the Trust name (“The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust“). In e-Quip, this is known as a Health Care Provider, or just Provider for short. Why don’t we call it a Trust? Well, for you it might be a Trust, but in Scotland & Wales these are known as Health Boards, but you would also use this field for CCG’s, private healthcare providers etc.

In e-Quip, a provider may comprise many sites and services. On the web page above you can see links to “Our Hospitals” and “Our Services”.

Hospital are referred to as as Sites in e-Quip. Why site rather than hospital? Not all sites are hospitals – they could be ambulance stations, community health centres etc. Sites are geographic place that you can physically visit. You could probably find them on a map.

What about “Our Services”? These are organisational entities, not geographical. For example “Children and Young People’s Services” may operate across many different hospitals across the Trust. You won’t find services on a map. You can’t actually go to “Children and Young People’s Services” (although you might go to one of their wards, clinics or offices, or maintain equipment for them).

What about those wards, clinics or offices, where do they fit into e-Quip? Although it’s not shown on this web page, there is a “Patients & Visitors” link which takes you here:

These are physical, geographic places that you can visit. You will often find them on way-finding boards around a hospital. In e-Quip these are held as Locations.

So, from an organisational perspective, Healthcare Providers are made up of one or more Services, while in geographic terms, Sites are made up of one or more Locations.

Multi-Level Locations

That is all very simple but at first glance appears a bit limited. How can we say that “Ward L12” is on the 3rd-Floor in “Jubilee Wing”? Older systems used to often have a fixed level hierarchy, like “hospital – building – floor – ward” but this was never a good idea; it forced you to use multiple levels even if you didn’t want to and restricted you to a maximum number of levels. e-Quip gets around this by making allowing parent & child locations. Rather than having 3 separate screens (building, floor & ward), you create 3 separate locations (Jubilee Wing, 3rd-Floor & Ward L12) and then link them so that:

Ward L12 is a child of 3rd-Floor

3rd-Floor is a child of Jubilee Wing

Remember that you don’t necessarily need to use multi-level locations. If everyone knows where Ward L12 is, then don’t bother with this extra complication. When working with multiple levels, equipment is normally assigned to the lowest level (Ward L12, in this example) although you can make exceptions if things move around. For example, if a Mobile C-Arm is normally parked in a corridor on the 3rd floor of Jubilee Wing, then you could assign that as its location. Perhaps the most common situation where people make use of this feature is in operating theatres where a theatre block is made up of several individual locations (Theatre 1, Theatre 2, Recovery etc) with some equipment fixed and others which move around within the block.

Multi-Level Sites & Services

Locations aren’t the only multi-level items in e-Quip; sites and services also support this capability. With services, then the idea of multi-level departments is quite common: NHS Divisions & Directorates are effectively multi-level services.

The concept of a hierarchical site is not quite so natural. A location within a location is easy to imagine, but a hospital within a hospital? Multi-level sites (we call them virtual sites) are normally used when users want to group sites together. Large organisations find this particularly useful:

  1. UK
    1. UK North
      1. Leeds
      2. York
    2. UK South
      1. London

This makes it very easy to find all equipment in a given area.

There are also reasons for smaller organisations to use virtual sites. You might manage devices for many GP’s Surgeries, which you would record as individual sites. It is useful to create a virtual site called “GP Surgeries” and make the individual children of that. In that way you can easily search for all equipment in every GP surgery.

Linking Geography and Organisation

From the Leeds website we can see that there is a service named “Children and Young People’s Services“. This service has devices in many locations, such as Ward L10 (Children’s Renal, Liver & Gastrology) and L11 (Children’s Dialysis). In e-Quip it is possible to link a location to a service. This means that all devices added to those locations will automatically be assigned to the appropriate service, although this can be changed.

Overlaps Between Geography and Organisation

It is not uncommon for there to be a location and a service with the same names. It is important to bear in mind that they are different things. For example, a Trust may have a Radiology Service and a Radiology Location. How are they different? First of all the Radiology location is a physical, geographical place; it will be part of a specific site. The Radiology service is an organisational entity- it may manage locations (one of which would doubtless be the Radiology location) at multiple sites.

Look at the device below:

It is physically located in the Radiology location at the Leeds General Infirmary – that is its geography. However, it is the responsibility of the Radiology service at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. That location may contain devices which are not managed by the Radiology service and similarly, that service will manage many other devices apart from those in that location. Although these two entities have the same name they are fundamentally different concepts.




Parkrun #50 – the one where Thomas, Charlie & Andrew did their first Parkrun!

This Saturday was to be my 50th Parkrun, so, to “spread the joy” (i.e. if I’ve got to get up early on Saturday morning then so should everyone else), on Friday evening we set of for deepest, darkest Yorkshire. I could have stayed in East Anglia (flat, no hills) but the grandchildren all wanted to join in, which is what prompted the hike northwards. Whether or not they really wanted to join in, or if they were prodded in that direction by parents who suspected that one more Parkrun (with hills) would finish the Old Man off is a moot point – given a choice, how many 9-year-olds these days would put down “Call of Duty” to run around a park, unless there was some kind of financial incentive?

These things have a habit of growing organically (which is probably the best way to grow) and the Cambridge crew decided that if the old fella was going to be having a cardiac arrest up north, then they probably ought to be there to make sure that they got their fair share of whatever bounty there might be and that the elder sisters didn’t get first dibs at the will. Incidentally, I don’t mean “elder sisters” in a Cinderella-like context. They didn’t travel up north in a pumpkin pulled by mice (which would be illegal), it’s just that they’re sisters and, er, older. The added incentive is that once these gatherings reach a certain critical mass, then alcohol often gets involved, which takes the edge off a bit for them. And so it came to pass that the southern contingent of the Family e-Quip set off for an appointment with both destiny and Skipton Park.

The first problem, not counting the M6, was the accommodation. Mrs e-Quip is not often called upon to book hotels. Now, I’ve been doing this for years and in the early days I must have chosen some right lemons. On the well-tried principle of trial and error, Mrs e-Quip went directly to “error”. It took Edison over a 1,000 stabs to perfect the light bulb. He didn’t regard these as mistakes – his view was that inventing the light bulb is a 1000-step process. I guess that he started of with something a bit like a light bulb which gradually got better and better. I’m trying to be generous here, but no matter what definition of “hotel” you use, where we stayed on Friday night probably didn’t match it. I suppose that having been brought up with All Creatures Great & Small, Emmerdale & Heartbeat, it hadn’t occurred to Mrs e-Quip that a) there would be a nightclub in Skipton and b) it would also be a “Boutique” hotel. Years of cynicism have taught me to avoid any brand with an adjective in its name. I just naturally assume that a hotel with the word “Comfort” in its name will not be comfortable and any product name which includes the word “Fun” will be anything but. I’m not sure what particular image the word “Boutique” conjured up for Mrs e-Quip, who is as-yet untarnished by years of scepticism, but I suspect that a learning process may have begun (Warning: Steep Learning Curve Ahead). Still, we were able to sleep between 03:00 and 06:45.

It turned out that we weren’t the only ones who had a late night. Bloomy (in Yorkshire adult males seem to always referred to by a contraction of their surname with “y” stuck on the end) had decided to go straight to the “alcohol often gets involved” phase of the weekend – good lad! It was great to see that everyone had turned up: Bloomy, Wardy, Avery-y (I’m not sure how the algorithm is supposed to work in this case) – the whole crew in fact, apart from Zaris-y (I’m also unsure how the algorithm is supposed to work with Greek names). Some were even wearing PE kit! Not the Misses e-Quip though. All four of them had a note from their mum to say that they were excused games. We bimbled over to the start line for the briefing. “Welcome to Parkrun …” (applause). “Any First Timers?” – Charlie, Thomas and Andrew-y all indicated in the approved fashion (applause). “Any Visitors?”. This is a tricky one. We always say we’re from Cambridge but Mrs Bloom (née e-Quip) always insists that we’re from Peterborough. We were saved from having to make a decision by someone admitting that they had come from Detroit (applause). No-one could compete with that we let that pass. “Any milestones?”, at last, my moment of glory and I got to announce my 50th run. Fortunately there were no 6-year-olds doing their 200th runs, so my 15 seconds in the sun was undimmed. So, we all huddled in the starting funnel: Thomas, Milly, Charlie, Bloomy, Wardy, Andrew-y and me-y, waiting for the crack of the starter’s pistol. Then, we’re off.

We’ve all heard stories of people playing golf with their bosses and deliberately letting them win to let them feel good and I was wondering how the inter-generational competitive streak would be handled by sons-in-law. Would they politely lag behind in deference to my years or run at their usual pace? How would the Wardy-Bloomy brother-in-law competition play out? Fortunately, I already had a plan. I was going to be in charge of Charlie. Charlie is 5 and this was his first ever run. He had practised by running round the field behind the Co-op and had declared himself ready to run with Granddad. This meant that I didn’t have to worry about impressing anyone. Unless the unthinkable happened and Charlie was faster than me, I was safe. Bloomy was to be Milly’s escort so he didn’t have to worry about racing against Wardy. This was perhaps just as well – bearing in mind that “alcohol often gets involved” bit of the previous evening. So, I’m safe, Bloomy’s safe – result! There was a small cloud of dust left behind as Wardy shot off into the distance, and we we’re off.

I have to say that one of the reasons that I love Parkrun so much is how friendly everyone is. Charlie is so tiny it’s hard to imagine him actually completing a 5k run. So many people were urging him on and encouraging him, giving him “high-fives” and generally making him feel very happy, even though he was wearing a Chelsea football shirt. Needless to say the shirt attracted a good few comments. I have no idea what running the London Marathon is like (and I have no plans to find out) but I suspect that it is the support of the crowd that gets you over the line. That’s pretty-much how it was with Charlie on Saturday. I don’t know how his tiny little legs carried him 4 times around Skipton Park. We could see that Thomas & Milly were also going great guns as our paths crossed on each lap.

As we approached the Finish Line I held back a few yards to let Charlie run in by himself, to the applause of the family. So, my 50th Parkrun turned out to be a fantastic day, followed, naturally, by breakfast at Billy Bob’s. Thomas, Charlie & Andrew all successfully completed their first Parkrun and Milly finished her 2nd. Just like me, Bloomy was able to blame his finish time on escort and baby-sitting duties. Apart from an overnight stay in a nightclub we had a really great weekend.

(Andrew-y, Bloomy, Wardy (+ Zachary-y), Me-y, Charlie, Thomas & Milly)

As for Wardy – he came 12th. Grrrr!



The 2017 Annual User-Group Meeting



Yesterday’s Annual User-Group Meeting was a great success – thank you to everyone who managed to get there. The attendance was the highest we’ve ever had with users travelling from as far afield as Dublin and Truro, with a sizeable cohort from Scotland. The day was unusual, not only in the large attendance, but also with the exceptional weather and the varied mix of users. The meeting is usually predominantly attended by engineers but yesterday we had a planner/equipper, a nurse trainer and a contract manager.

A lot has happened since last year’s meeting. We have a new office in Stafford where Phil & Sarah are based, and they have been joined on the Help Desk by Jack Foulkes.

We started off with a review of the user-base. We had around a dozen new new customers joining us over the last year and e-Quip is now being used in over 90 hospitals.

Next, Graham went through the developments that were completed last year (in versions 3.5 and 3.6). You can see a full list here:

Phil then did a presentation of the 2 new web applications: a completely revamped version of the ward users app and a nurse training & competence app that nurses and their trainers can use to update their training records. You can see a demo of the ward users app here. That will give you an idea what it can do but Phil’s presentation highlighted its flexibility, both in terms of how it can be configured for individual users and also in how it responds to being run on different platforms. It looks great whether you run it on a phone, tablet or desktop. One of these days I’ll see if I can get Phil to put up a blog article about it.

The nurse training & competence app allows virtually the same functionality as the desktop system, even down to being able to produce cross-tab TNA reports. Phil or Sarah will give everyone a link to a demo version as soon as they have published it, probably in the next couple of days. There were some useful suggestions from the floor about how training managers can be more easily identified for nurses based on work location, so we will be adding those into the system shortly.

The next presentation introduced the new interactive dashboard. First, the design goals were introduced. The dashboard is intended to be:

  • A reporting tool
  • A navigation facility
  • A KPI generator

Starting with PPM compliance we demonstrated each of these features:

First, the dashboard is a reporting tool. It shows similar data to other reports within e-Quip it just shows it in a more graphical way.

Second, the dashboard is a navigation tool. We can see above that there are 278 PPM compliant high-risk devices. Double-clicking on the gauge opens the equipment screen and shows those 278 assets. Similarly, when you move the mouse over the high-risk PPM non-compliance pie chart you can see that there are 43 high-risk devices which are more than 60 days overdue for PPM. Double-clicking on the red wedge in the pie chart opens the equipment screen and displays them. This applies to virtually every gauge, graph or chart in the dashboard.

Finally, the dashboard is a KPI generator. Whether 68% compliance for high-risk equipment (i.e. 278 out of 408) is good, bad or otherwise is determined by local policies. If you look at the gauge you will see that it has 3 sections:

Red: 0 – 33%

Yellow: 33 – 67%

Green: > 67%

Both the values and the colours can be set for each gauge (as you may well have different KPI’s for medium- and low-risk devices). This is done on one of the Settings screens.

Changing these setting won’t change the position of the gauge needle, but it will change the appearance of the gauge.

Having shown the basic idea we then went on to show all of the dashboard screens that we have created so far. Naturally these reports can all be saved as PDF documents. Click here for a copy.

There are too many to show all of them here (the PDF shows all of them) but here are a few samples to give you the general idea. Each one is configurable and can be used for navigation.

The new dashboard was extremely well-received by the users.

Next we went on to demonstrate the new procurement functionality of e-Quip which has been moved from the old e-Quip PM (Procurement Management) system. Having shown the basic ideas, Colette from Dublin then gave a presentation to show how she is using this new functionality in the new-build project at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire. We got some good pointers from Colette and will be adding her suggestions to e-Quip as soon as we can. By the way, Colette was the first ever e-Quip customer, back in 2009. This was when the only screens that e-Quip had were equipment, brand, model, category, location, site and service and provider. We’ve certainly come a long way, with your help, since then!

So, that’s it for another year. We ran out of time and didn’t get a chance to show all the other things that we have planned for this year. If next year’s meeting is as successful as this year’s, we’ll have to look for an alternative location.



Version 3.6.0 will be Released this Week

Here’s an update on what’s in version 3.6.0. We plan to start building the release today (4th April, 2017).

Reporting Changes

New Man-Hours Report 

A new report has been added to the Quick Report feature.  The report shows a row for each person, with each row containing:


Days Worked in the Period
Total Hours Worked in the Period
Average Hours per Day
Week 1
Hours Worked Day 1
Hours Worked Day 2
Hours Worked Day 3
Hours Worked Day 4
Hours Worked Day 5
Hours Worked Day 6
Hours Worked Day 7
Week 1 Total Hours
Week 1 Average Hours per Day
Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

The hours are taken from Jobs (Technician Hours, Assistant Hours, Supervisor Hours) and also from Tasks.


If no hours have been worked then the column is displayed with a yellow fill.

If the average number of hours falls below the Target Daily Hours on the staff tab of the personnel property page, then the cell is displayed with a red fill.

Quick Report Changes – Contract Financials

In the Quick Report utility the way that contract renewal costs are calculated has been changed. This label for this report item has been changed from “Renewal Cost” to “Cost in Period“. Previously this value was simply the sum of the Total Cost field from all contracts which started in the reporting period. This did not accurately reflect multi-year contracts. It also did not distinguish between contract renewals and new contracts.

The new calculation reflects the funding that is required for contract payments, regardless of whether they are/were new contracts, renewals, or multi-year contracts. For single-period contracts (i.e. contracts where the Year 1 Start Date, Year 2 Start Date etc.are empty), then the calculation is the same as before. i.e. the sum of the Total Cost field from all contracts which started in the reporting period.

However, for multi-year contracts the value reported is the sum of the Year 1 Cost, Year 2 Cost etc, for all dates which lie within the reporting period.

For example, consider the single-period contract below.

If Quick Report is run for any period starting 1/1/2017 this contract will report a Cost in Period of £1000. i.e. the entire contract cost, assumed payable as soon as the contract commences.

However, now suppose that the same contract has the following multi-year values:

(Note: for the sake of simplicity the dates below are for months within a year, rather than multiple years)

In this case the Quick Report will ignore the Total Cost and will report on the individual year values as shown below.

The TNA Report

This now includes the staff grade and the training date for each model.

Equipment Changes

There have been some significant changes to the equipment screen.

1. The appearance of the general tab of the equipment property page has changed in order to reduce overcrowding on the screen and to allow more fields to be added. 3 separate tabs have been added within the general tab, as shown below:

a. Risks

b. Notes & Description

c. Miscellaneous

2. Three new fields have been added to the general tab of the equipment property page, Training Risk, Risk Likelihood & Risk Consequence.

The Training Risk field is read-only and is copied from the model. The likelihood & consequence fields are initially copied from the corresponding fields on the mode record but can be subsequently edited.

3. The appearance of the financial tab of the equipment property page has changed in order to reduce overcrowding on the screen and to allow more fields to be added. Purchase and replacement information have been split into 2 separate tabs within the financial tab, as shown below:

a. Purchasing

b. Replacement

4. Three new fields, Order Value, Associated Costs & Commission Request, have been added to the financial tab of the equipment property page (see above)

5. The appearance of the data tab of the equipment property page has changed in order to reduce overcrowding on the screen and to allow more fields to be added. There are now 3 separate tabs, as shown below:

Data Connections

This tab holds information about the various databases that this device connects to. This information is all new for version 3.6.

b. Communication Ports

c. Data Security

The following new fields have been added to this tab:

Data User (Service) – The service or department which uses the data on this device

Licensing – How the associated databases are licensed.

6. A new tab, Loans, has been added to the equipment property page to show the loan history of the device.

7. A new field, Audit Date, has been added to the miscellaneous of tab the equipment property page.

In addition, the field labelled “e-Quip (PM) Code” has been relabelled “BOQ Code”. The reason is that e-Quip PM no longer exists as a stand-alone product since its functionality has been incorporated into e-Quip. The name BOQ Code also more accurately reflects the purpose of the field.

Some cosmetic reorganisation has been required in order to make room for this field.

8. A new field, Calibration Date, has been added to the technical tab of the equipment property page.

Job Changes

1. A new tab, Courier(s) has been added to the job property page.

This can be used to record up to 2 courier pickups & deliveries for a job.

2. A new job warning has been added to notify users if the last PPM job for the device was not completed.

Bulk Update – Jobs & Equipment

1. For the equipment and job property pages, bulk update now supports the ability to append field contents rather than replacing them.

This is fully described in this blog article.

Adding Devices to PPM Schedules

1. A new option has been added to the equipment summary screen context menu Add the Selected Assets to a PPM Schedule.

This allows the 1st PPM date to be scheduled based on the installation date of each selected device.


1. A new tab, Features/Risks, has been added to the model property page.

While it was originally intended to be used to identify multiple, model-specific risks, it can also be used to define any list of model-specific attributes.


1. A new reference data type, Site Type, has been added.

2. The new Site Type field has been added to the miscellaneous tab of the site property page.

Contract Changes

1. A new field, Contact, has been added to the general tab of the contract property page.

2. Some additional fields had been requested for multi-year contracts and the financial tab was getting very full, so we have added the new fields and moved everything relating to multi-year contracts onto its own tab. As you can see it’s still a busy screen!


Many of the values were originally found on the financial tab the contract property page while the following new fields have been added:

Multi-Year Discount Amount
Multi-Year Discount %
Per-Year Discount Amount
Per-Year Discount %
Per-Year Invoice No

3. When scheduling jobs from a contract using the Contract Scheduler, there is now an option to create a project to group the jobs together.

Contract-Based PPM Scheduling

We have added an option to the Contract Visit Scheduler to allow all of the jobs that are created to be linked together into Projects.


The example above will create 2 projects as shown below:


Not only does this make the jobs easier to find but the projects are also a useful place to link documents associated with the visit (rather than with the individual jobs).


1. A new field, Target Daily Hours, has been added to the staff tab of the personnel property page.

This field is used by the new man-hours report (see above).

2. The personnel import utility now allows email address to be imported.

3. When a person’s work location changes and the person is added to competence groups the model policy competence requirements are applied automatically.


1. A new field, Site, has been added to the details tab of the customer property page

Customer Contracts

1. A new field, Contract Status, has been added to the general tab of of customer contract property page.

2. A new field, Invoice, has been added to the financial tab of of customer contract property page.

3. The Cover tab of the Customer Contract property page has been enhanced to allow callout charges to be defined for each cover period as well as labour charges for work done both inside & outside of those periods.

4. On the Financial tab of the Customer Contract property page the Parts Discount (%) now allows a maximum of 10 characters. Previously it was not possible to add negative values with multiple decimal places.

Commission Requests

1. The following fields have been added to the additional items tab of the commission request property page.

Purchase Date
Installation Date
Recalc. PPM Date

This now allows a single commission request to be used to commission similar devices for different locations in separate batches. For example, you might set up a commission request to be used whenever a particular model is commissioned. This would ensure that all new devices would be correctly commissioned, assigned to the correct PPM schedule, etc.

2. Until this version, when future PPM jobs were created the Planned Date for the jobs was taken from the First PPM Date field on the technical tab. This was not suitable when new batches of devices were added to an existing commission request. A new option, Recalc. PPM Date, has been added to the additional items tab which forces the PPM planned date for each item to be:

Installation Date + PPM Schedule Frequency

This option can also be set when adding batches of additional items.

3. On the technical tab, whenever either the Installation Date or PPM Schedule is changed the user is asked if the First PPM Date field should be changed. The date suggested is:

Installation Date + PPM Schedule Frequency

Competence Groups

1. A Locations tab has been added to the competence group property page. This now allows a competence group to relate to multiple, unrelated, locations. Previously it was possible to associate multiple locations to a competence group only by using child locations.

2. A new utility, Refresh Competence Groups, has been added to the personnel summary screen. This will reset the person’s membership if competence groups based on location.

3. First Name, Middle Name & Surname columns added to allow more flexibility in how personnel are sorted

4. When a personnel record is edited and the Leaving Date is set, that person is now removed from all competence groups. The personnel import does the same thing.

5. A button has been added to the TNA tab of the competence group property page labelled Apply Policies.

This resets the Required Competence Level for all TNA records for the competence group to match the model / staff grade policy (which is set on the model property page).


Training Events

1. A new field, PO No, has been added to the financial tab of the training event property page.

PPQ’s (Pre-Purchase Questionnaires)

1. The PPQ property page window caption now says “PPQ/PAQ Properties” to reflect the new term, Pre-Acquisition Questionnaire, which is becoming more widespread.

2. Two new lookups, Model & Supplier have been added to the Details tab of the PPQ property page. The model brand & supplier are also displayed and can be filtered on.


Jobs created in this way now also have the default job status and priority specified by the role.


1. A new field, Tested With, has been added to the Miscellaneous tab of the loan property page. This is for use by libraries which routinely perform electrical safety tests on all devices as they are returned.

2. Two new tabs have been added for community-based loans, Delivery & Collection. These tabs contain an address (which might be different to the patient’s address) and additional delivery/collection notes.

3. A system option has been added to prevent the issue of loans on a device if its PPM is due or overdue (see below). If this option is not set then a warning will be displayed whenever a device which is due maintenance is loaned.

4. A new Quick Loan utility has been added for use by libraries which routinely perform electrical safety tests on all devices as they are returned.

New Loan Consumables Screen

We needed to implement loan consumables very quickly and so initially we did this as reference data. This allowed us to record the issue and return of consumables with loans but prevented some of the features that we knew would eventually be needed. Most importantly, consumables weren’t able to support stock. We have now added a loan consumable screen to address this.


Consumables were previously managed using the Reference Data Manager. This is no longer the case.

Out of Hours Loan Application

1. The ability to enter free text in the “2. Who are you?” field has been added.

2. It is now possible to enter a Bed or Bay No.


1. Two new fields, Capital Asset Value & Residual Asset Value have been added to the financial tab of the lease property page.

Capital Asset Value: this is the capital price of the assets that would have been paid had they been purchased. This is used by the lessor to determine the lease payments and to calculate the residual asset value. This is also the value that is added to the hospital’s asset books.

Residual Asset Value: this is the amount the assets are worth at the end of the lease. It is determined by the initial capital value, the depreciation rate and term, and the residual percentage that is decided at the start of the lease. This residual value is used to calculate the buyout cost of the asset at the end of the lease.


1. Two new fields, Certification Review Date and Certification Review By have been added to the general tab of the supplier property page.

Spare Parts

1. A new field, Shelf Life (Weeks), has been added to the general tab of the order property page.

2. On the locations tab of the spare part part property page, the lookup which was previously labelled Cost Centre is now labelled Ownership Type. The purpose of this field is to indicate the ownership of parts held in this location, such as ‘Owned by Trust’ or ‘Owned by Customer’.

Spare Part Orders

1. A new field, Requisition No, has been added to the general tab of the order property page.

2. An auto-generate button has been added next to the PO No field

Equipment Categories

1. Bulk Update support has been added to the equipment category property page

The User Manager

1. It is now possible for a user administrator to set a default filter for any screen for a user.

The User Manager utility now has an additional tab, Default Filters. This grid shows one row for each summary screen.

To set the user’s default filter simply double-click on the appropriate row and select the filter or click the Set Default Filter button. Either method will show the filter selector below.

Not sure of the difference between a base filter and a default filter? A base filter cannot be removed by the user. i.e. it will always be added to every filter that the user sets. Suppose that the user has a base filter of:

[Equipment Status <> ‘Decommissioned’]

If the user sets the filter:

[Location = ‘Holly Ward’]

Then the actual filter that will be applied will be:

[Equipment Status <> ‘Decommissioned’] AND [Location = ‘Holly Ward’]

A default filter can be changed or deleted at any time by a user. It simply specifies the data that should be shown when the user first displays that screen. In the example above the user’s default filter is ‘Devices with Unfinished non-PPM Jobs’. Every time this user logs in to e-Quip, then the first time the equipment summary screen is displayed then all devices with unfinished non-PPM jobs will be displayed, but the user can apply other filters at any time.

2. Bulk Update support has been added to the User Manager.

This allows you to set any of the following information for a selection of users:

Note: The check-boxes on this screen are interesting in that they are tri-state boxes. When they are displayed as a small black square this means “leave this value as it is”. When displayed as a tick this means “set this value” and when displayed as unticked this means “clear this value”.

It is likely that we will also use tri-states for all other bulk update utilities.


1. It is now possible to prevent users from clicking Show All Records on a per-screen basis. In the past this could be either enabled or disabled for the entire application. You could always make e-Quip give you a warning on certain screens but you couldn’t prevent a user from ignoring the warning.


2. Support for a shared dictionary (by role) has been added. You can also grant permissions to add new words to the dictionary.

When using the spellchecker if the user is able to edit the dictionary then the “Add to Dictionary” button (see below) will be enabled.

3. A new role setting, Set Technician to Current User, has been added. If this option is set then whenever a user in this role creates a new job, the personnel record associated with the current user is assigned to the job technician, provided that the personnel record has a personnel type class of Can be Assigned to Jobs.

4. New role options have been added to control the behaviour of the Column Chooser. These options determine whether or not system and calculated columns are displayed in the Column Chooser.

Standard, System & Calculated Columns Visible 

Standard & Calculated Columns Visible

Standard & System Columns Visible

Only Standard Columns Visible

5. New role options have been added to define the job types for jobs created from with commission & decommission requests.

These options apply when jobs are are create by clicking the “Create …” button on the commission & decommission request property pages

System Options

1. A new system option has been added to prevent loans for devices who’s PPM is due or overdue.

2. A system option has been added which forces the budget associated with a location to be copied to new assets.

3. A system option has been added which forces child assets to be relocated if the location of the parent device changes.

As you can see, this is quite a big release. As always, any feedback would be appreciated.

BySarah Brassington

We have changed our number

e-Quip, our Asset Management Software is being used by more than 80 Hospitals up and down the country  and we are committed to supporting each and every one of you. Over the past year or two e-Quip has been growing from strength to strength, bringing you more and more functionality and managing your asset management processes on many levels.

The e-Quip support team have expanded into some new offices and have changed the e-Quip Support Telephone Number to 01785 74 75 75.

The old number will remain in place for a short time but we would really appreciate it if you can ensure that everyone in your team who needs e-Quip support has the new number so that we can continue to support you in any way we can.

Many Thanks



Using Excel in Filters

We have recently had a couple of requests for a way of copying equipment serial numbers from a spreadsheet into an e-Quip filter. Surprisingly, this is very easy to do, it just needs a little bit of knowledge about Excel formulae.

Let’s suppose that you have a spreadsheet with a list of devices:

Now you need to try to find these equipment records in e-Quip, maybe so that you can add them all to a Medical Device Alert or perhaps to a contract. How can we use the information from Excel to create an e-Quip filter? Of course, you could copy and paste each individual cell, but that would be annoying if there were 100+ cells.

Let’s have a look at what a filter on several Serial No’s would look like in the Advanced Query Builder of the Filter Wizard. I’ve manually created a filter for 2 different Serial No’s and just changed the AND for an OR.

One way to approach this would be to keep on adding “[Serial No = ‘xxx’]” blocks until we have the full list. Again, difficult if we have several hundred, but let’s have a go. What happens if we just copy and paste from Excel into the Filter Wizard? In the example below I have just selected all of the Serial No’s in the spreadsheet and pasted them into the Filter Wizard:

Hmm, not a lot of use; this leaves us with lots of typing to do to put “[Serial No =” etc. around each value and to add  lots of “OR’s”. Still, there is the germ of an idea here. Excel is very good at doing this kind of thing. This time, I’m going to add an extra column to the spreadsheet and put a formula in it, like so:


Look at the formula that I have put into cell B2:

=”[Serial No = ‘” & A2 & “‘] OR “

The “=” just tells Excel that what follows is a formula.

Then we have some text enclosed in double quotes: “[Serial No = ‘“. This means to literally insert the text [Serial No = ‘ (that’s why it’s called a string literal).

Then we have & A2. In Excel “&” means “join 2 bits of text together“, so this will stick whatever text is in cell A2 and add it onto [Serial No = ‘. This will give [Serial No = ‘1234.

The last part of the formula, “& ‘]”. This tells us to simply stick ‘] OR onto what we have so far, giving [Serial No = ‘1234’] OR.

So far so good. Now we just have to copy that to every row. This is easy in Excel. You could use Copy & Paste (Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V) but Excel make sit even easier. Just put the mouse over the bottom corner of cell B2 (in the red box shown below).

The cursor will change to a small “+” sign. Just double-click on that and the formula will be copied to every row.

Now all we need to do is to select the 2nd column and paste it into the Filter Wizard, as shown:

We just need to delete the last “OR” which is hanging off the end off our filter:

Hey presto! We have a filter that could be several hundred or even thousands of lines, all as a result of a few clicks. You haven’t needed to know anything about SQL or about the structure of the database.

Can we improve on this? Yes & No. You can save fractionally on the typing and marginally on execution speed, but you need a bit more knowledge about SQL and the database structure. Is it worth it? You decide.

First, you need to know that the Serial No of a device is held in a database field named SerialNo, and secondly you need to know about the SQL IN clause.

This time, in the formula in B2 put:

=”‘” & A2 & “‘,”

As you can see, this involves marginally less typing than before. Then copy & paste the formula to all rows as before. Now your spreadsheet should look like:

If you now open the Filter Wizard and switch to the SQL tab, type in:

SerialNo IN ()

like so:

Now just copy & paste the Excel column into the space between the two brackets and delete the trailing comma:

Is this an improvement? You typed slightly less in Excel and slightly more in e-Quip. Offset against that you had to know a database field name and you had to be familiar with the SQL IN clause.

Use whichever way you are most comfortable with. Either way, if you have to search on a list of several hundred Serial No’s then a tiny bit of familiarity with Excel could save you a lot of time.

This same technique can be extended to search on a wide range of fields for different data types.


The Footprint Manager

If you haven’t already, it is strongly recommended that you read this blog article about groups & permissions before you look into group footprints. Just to recap, a footprint defines the parts of the database that a group of users can see.


The “Hospital A” group can maybe just see their own data, and likewise the “Hospital B” group might be only able to see theirs, but an administrator would be able to see data across both sites. This is not the same as a permission: all three groups have read access to equipment (for example); the footprint defines the data that they can actually see.


If you are going to split a dataset up into different chunks that can be seen by different people, then you will need some discriminator. i.e. some way of identifying which users can see which chunks. For example, the e-Quip database might be used by several completely independent sets of users; such as: Medical Physics, EBME, Facilities etc. How is it best to say, “this supplier is here for the Facilities users“, “this model is here for Medical Physics users“, etc? In some cases this is easy. You might, for example, be able to say, “this  data should only be visible to users at Hospital A“. However, it can rapidly get quite complex. It might be that a spare part must be visible to users at both “Hospital A” and “Hospital B”, but the individual bins should only be visible to the appropriate site.

Far and away the most commonly-used discriminator in e-Quip is the team. It is for this reason that almost every screen in e-Quip has a team field. In the simplest case we simply define teams for “Hospital A” and “Hospital B“. We will dig into how this works, why it sometimes doesn’t and then some more complex alternatives.

How is a Footprint Different from a Filter?

Would it be sufficient to just create a base filter (i.e. a filter that the user can’t remove) for each team? Could you just add a filter of “… AND Team = ‘Hospital A” onto every search that “Hospital A” users make? Well, you could, but you would have to do this for every single screen. e-Quip allows you to create a base filter for every screen for a group but this would be quite time-consuming to manage. This would work, but wouldn’t handle lookups properly, since lookups can work from any screen. For example, you might have an equipment filter that says “… AND Team = ‘Hospital A” so you can only see “Hospital A” equipment, but if you were selecting the location for a device using the location lookup, the location lookup isn’t aware of equipment filters and so the lookup would show locations at all hospitals.

What we really need is an “entity-specific” mechanism rather than a “screen-specific” approach. This means that when we specify “you can only see information for Hospital A“, this restriction applies not only to every screen, but also to lookups. This, essentially, is the purpose of the Footprint Manager. While filters are screen-specific (and do not apply to lookups), footprints are entity-specific (and do apply to lookups).

Inclusions & Exclusions

The Footprint Manager takes discriminators and says “you can only see …” (an inclusion) or “you can never see …” (an exclusion). If you use a footprint to say “members of this group will only see data where the Team = Hospital A“, then this applies across all screens and also applies to lookups. These users will only see equipment, jobs, contracts etc., which have been assigned to the team “Hospital A“.

You might also want to specify a footprint by saying what users can’t see. A footprint might say “members of this group will never see decommissioned equipment“. If we combined these this might mean that “members of this group will only see data where Team = Hospital A but never show decommissioned equipment“. This would apply to every screen, so if the user clicked Show All Records on the equipment screen they would only see equipment assigned to the team Hospital A which was not decommissioned. The same reasoning would apply when raising a job; it would not be possible for a user with this footprint to create a job for a device for a team other than Hospital A, or for a decommissioned device.

So, an inclusion means “you can only ever see …”, while an exclusion means “you will never see …”.

Would you ever have an Inclusion and Exclusion on the Same Data type?

Basically, no! Is it meaningful to say “You can only ever see data from Hospital A and you will never see data from Hospital B“? If you can only see data from Hospital A there is no need to say that you cannot see data from Hospital B.

Using the Footprint Manager

The Footprint Manager is extremely simple to use. It is an external application under the Tools program files menu (depending on your operating system). When you run it you will be asked to enter a username and password. Once you have logged in you will see a list of groups. To edit a group footprint just double-click on the group.

At the top of the screen you will see a drop-down list which allows you to choose the discriminator that you have decided to use.


In order to specify a team inclusion on “Hospital A“, click the lookup at the top of the screen and select team “Hospital A“. For a manager you might also select an inclusion on “Hospital B“.


This means that these users can only see data which relates to teams “Hospital A” and “Hospital B“.

You might, alternatively, choose to say that these users can see all data except that which relates to “Hospital C“. This would be achieved with an exclusion.


The differences between these choices can be very subtle.

What about NULLs?

If you specify an exclusion, that is fairly unambiguous. i.e. “you will never see any data where the Team = Hospital A“. Any data at all, equipment, job, contract, spare part, location, anything at all; if the team is “Hospital A” then you won’t see it.

Inclusions are a bit more problematic. Let’s say that we have a spare part which is used in both Hospital A & B. However, there are bins for this part in Hospital A and Hospital B. The bins are no problem, we just assign the appropriate team, but what about the spare part itself? If the part is associated with only a single team (maybe it is a boiler spare part for the Facilities team) then there is no problem, but in this example the part needs to be visible to several teams.

This forces us to interpret inclusions as “you will only ever see data where either the Team = Hospital A or the Team is empty“. You can also see why this is the case when you look at entity types which appear several times within one record. For example, on the equipment property page there is not a single supplier field. rather, there are fields for Original Purchase supplier, New Item Purchase Supplier, Spare Part supplier, etc.


This is a device which was originally purchased from Beaver Medical but which is now purchased from Cardiac Services. Contracts, however, are purchased from Philips. Could we just rely on inclusions for Beaver Medical, Cardiac Services and Philips Healthcare? No, because the spare part supplier, callout supplier, training supplier and loan supplier are all blank. In order to display this record the inclusions would have to be interpreted as:

Supplier = Cardiac Services


Supplier = Beaver Medical


Supplier = Philips Medical


Supplier is Empty

This will cause some headaches when we are looking at complex (or realistic) scenarios.

Alternative Discriminators

The team entity is the clear winner when it comes to choosing a discriminator which helps in “sharing out” your e-Quip database between different functional groups of users. However, there are alternative candidates.

Sites are commonly used for this purpose, i.e. “you can only see data where the Site = Hospital A“. For our non-NHS users the customer entity can also be useful, i.e. “you can only see data where the Customer = BUPA“.

e-Quip can handle many complex scenarios, but sometimes you may need to be very imaginative in how you decide to chop up your data.


Group Permissions

You may have come across the series of articles about configuring e-Quip using the Role Manager. This is a really big subject and even when tackled in small chunks the articles are tending to become long which might give the impression that this is more complex than it actually is. For that reason we have moved some of the discussions about groups and permissions, along with the Footprint Manager, into separate posts.

In order to use e-Quip you must have a user account and that account will belong to a single group. Essentially a group defines your permissions or rights. i.e. what you are allowed to do within e-Quip. Almost always a group will have multiple members (i.e. user accounts) but remember, a user account is a member of a single group.

Item Permission Masks

Every data item in e-Quip is protected by a permissions mask which can be any combination of:

Read –  This data can be seen

Write – This data can be edited

Add – New records can be created

Delete – Records can be deleted

Control – This grants the read, write, add & delete permissions and also allows records to be archived

Is the term data item the same as saying screen? For example, do permissions on the Location data type just refer to the location screen? No – these permissions apply across the whole of e-Quip. If a group has Add rights on locations, for example, then not only will the Create New Location menu on location screen be enabled, but the Add New button on the location Lookup control will be enabled everywhere it occurs, even in places like the QBE (Query by Example) utility.

Why is it called a mask? This is a bit of IT terminology used to describe something where the overall effect is defined by adding individual items, often called flags. Suppose that the read flag was represented by the number 1, write by 2, add by 4 and delete by 8. Using these flags, the mask 15 represents: 1 + 2 + 4 + 8. Thus 15 = read + write + add + delete. They are held this way (as ascending powers of 2) because computers can compare such masks very quickly.

Setting Permissions

The User Manager is responsible for defining the permissions associated with a group. To run this utility, click the Office menu (the round menu button in the top left-hand corner) on the dashboard screen and select Manage Users.

A screen will appear with two tabs, one to manage groups and another to manage individual users.


Group creation is trivial: simply click the New button and enter a code, name & description for the group. The code is largely unimportant and is used sometimes for advanced system customisations.

To open or edit a group, simply double-click on it in the grid. When a group is displayed, click the Permissions tab to see the rights mask for every data type.


Editing permissions is as easy as you would think; simply tick the boxes for the rights that you want to set. You can set the rights for multiple data types by selecting them in the list and then clickign Edit Selection. This will display the following screen:


Just tick the appropriate rights then click the Apply button and those rights will be applied to every selected data type.

Delete Rights

When is it appropriate to delete a record from a database? I would start from “never” and then argue back very vociferously from there! My personal view is that if you create a job by mistake, then you should just set its status to Cancelled, not delete it, but that’s just my personal view. Incidentally, it isn’t possible in e-Quip to delete something that is referenced by something else.

Links Between Entity Types

Let’s suppose that a group has write & add permissions on jobs, so they can create new and edit existing jobs. What happens if those users need to a) add parts to a job and b) remove parts from a job that they may have added accidentally.

There are three separate data types involved here:


Spare Parts

Part / Job Links

You can’t add parts to a job unless you can actually edit jobs in the first place. You cannot select from a list of spare parts if you don’t have at least read access to spare parts. But, to add a spare part to a job you also need write access to the Spare Part / Job Link entity. These are three distinct permissions. You might not be able to add new jobs, or create new spare parts, but you can still add spare parts to a job. There are separate rights masks for all three. have a look at the permissions below:


This group can see (i.e. read) spare parts but has read + write + add + delete rights to spare part job links, spare part model links and spare part supplier links.

This means that these users can:

Add a spare part to a job (“this spare part was used on this job”)

Add a spare part to a model (“this spare part is applicable to this model”)

Add a spare part to a supplier (“this spare part can be purchased from this supplier”)

It should be reasonably obvious that adding (i.e. creating) a spare part is not the same as linking an existing spare part to a job, model or supplier.

Deleting Links

Notice that this group has permission to delete spare part links. This is not the same as being able to delete spare parts. If a user adds a part by mistake to a job then they need to be able to remove the spare part from the job. Similarly, if a supplier stops selling a particular part, removing it from the supplier is not the same as deleting the spare part itself. It will almost always be the case that if a group has the rights to add a link then they will also be able to delete that link.



Although groups primarily exist as a permissions mechanism, each group also has a Footprint, which defines the data which is visible to that group. If you’ve ever seen a Venn diagram then you’ll have a good idea what this means.


The “Hospital A” group can maybe just see their own data, and likewise the “Hospital B” group might be only able to see theirs, but an administrator would be able to see data across both sites. This is not the same as a permission: all three groups have read access to equipment (for example); the footprint defines the data that they can actually see.

This blog article explains how the Footprint Manager operates.