Tag ArchiveJobs


Summary of Warnings & Alerts in e-Quip

There are many situations where e-Quip will display a warning or an alert. It is very difficult to document all of them because there are so many and most are self-explanatory. If you see a message that says “The work end date is before the call date” then you don’t really need us to explain what that means – it means that the work end date is before the call date!

However, when you open an equipment or job record it is useful to know what types of information can be displayed and what it means.

The Equipment Property Page

Whenever the equipment property page is opened the user can be alerted about important or useful information in three ways: Header Alerts, Alert Dialog Boxes & Events Alerts.

Asset Header Alerts

Asset Header

The most obvious alerts are the 5 coloured boxes on the page header. These are (from left-to-right):

1. The device is subject to an on-going medical device alert. Whenever this alert is displayed the Alerts tab will also be displayed.

2. User-Defined. In this example the alert is showing that the device is overdue for PPM. This alert is configured by editing the SQL-Server stored procedure qAssetAlert1_Local. Note that editing stored procedures is a technical configuration action and must be undertaken by appropriately qualified technical staff. Any stored procedure whose name ends in ‘_Local‘ will not be affected by subsequent upgrades.

3. The device holds patient data. This is controlled by a check-box on the Data tab.

4. User-Defined. In this example the alert is showing that the device is covered by a particular contract. This alert is configured by editing the SQL-Server stored procedure qAssetAlert2_Local.

5. There is an open non-PPM job for this device

Although not part of the header alerts there is some other useful information displayed. The window caption bar shows that the device is subject to an on-going medical device alert and also displays the date that the record was last modified. If the record is read-only this will also be shown in the caption bar.

Notice also that there is a coloured check-box on the Contracts tab. This indicates that the device is currently covered by a contract.

Asset Dialog Alerts

Before the equipment property page is displayed a number of warning messages may be displayed. These are:

Asset Warning


Maintenance Events

A Maintenance Event is an action which is carried out at predefined intervals but which may not be associated with a particular PPM schedule. For example, a battery may be changed at 6-monthly intervals and this may coincide with a repair job, a 3-monthly, 6-monthly or annual PPM. If an event is due then this will be displayed when the record is opened.


The Job Property Page

The alerts on the job screen are similar to those on the equipment screen, although rather than using multiple individual alert dialog boxes, all of the messages are combined into a single message.

Job Header Alerts

Job Header

The job property page has 3 header alerts. These are (from left-to-right):

1. The job is billable. This warning is controlled by the SQL-Server function JobIsBillable_Local. This is where you can define your site-specific logic which determines whether or not a job is billable.

2. User-Defined. In this example the alert is showing that the device has passed its predicted life. This alert is configured by editing the SQL-Server stored procedure qJobAlert1_Local.

3. User-Defined. In this example the alert is showing that the device is Beyond Economic Repair. This alert is configured by editing the SQL-Server stored procedure qJobAlert2_Local.

JobDialog Alerts

There are many more alerts for jobs than there are for equipment. To prevent a large number of individual warnings these are all combined into a single message.

Job Dialog

The possible warnings are:

1. The device is under warranty

2. The device is on contract

3. There is an outstanding non-PPM job for this device

4. A PPM is due for this device

5. A PPM is overdue for this device

6. The device is subject to an on-going medical device alert

7. The device is covered by a customer contract

8. The device has passed its predicted life

9. The device holds patient data

Maintenance Events

The job screen displays maintenance events due in exactly the same way as the equipment screen. However, if an event is due it will be added to the job events tab.



Editing Templates

All e-Quip users probably know that job templates lie at the heart of the automated PPM scheduling mechanism. Broadly speaking, if a PPM schedule is a definition of a set of work instructions which need to be carried out at a specified interval, then a job template is the most common way in which the work instructions are defined. Job templates do have other uses but this is probably the way in which they are most commonly used. The basic idea of preemptive scheduling (see this article for more details) is that whenever a PPM job is completed e-Quip automatically creates a new job, based on a job template, for the next service. This type of scheduling has been a feature of e-Quip since its very first version and works very well, but …

What happens when the work instructions change? It is simple enough to edit a template using the Template Manager, but that only affects how future jobs will be created – what about all of the non-started PPM jobs that were created from the original template. Editing a template will not change these. If the changes do not affect sub-lists (i.e. parts, tests, tasks & checklists) then you must remember to bulk update all non-started jobs created from the template so that they match the new template. This is achievable but is quite awkward:

  1. Find all PPM schedules which reference the job template being edited
  2. Find all non-started PPM jobs for those schedules
  3. Bulk update the jobs to match the template

Sub-lists, however, cannot be handled this way. Suppose that job template defines a checklist with a step “1. Measure the gap between the battery support post and the casing. This should be between 1 mm and 1.5 mm“.  What would happen if the template was edited so that the value being measured changes to “…should be between 1.5 mm and 2.0 mm“? Job bulk update does support sub-lists but it is additive. If you specify a spare part in a job bulk update, that part is added to every job. The same applies to test equipment, tasks & checklists. There isn’t really any other way that bulk update can work. This isn’t going to help us here – we would end up with all jobs containing two checklist items:

1. Measure the gap between the battery support post and the casing. This should be between 1 mm and 1.5 mm

1. Measure the gap between the battery support post and the casing. This should be between 1.5 mm and 2.0 mm

2. …

2. …

3. …

3. …

Clearly not what we want!

As from version 3.3.0, whenever a job is created from a template a link to the source template is saved in the job. If that template is ever editing e-Quip will then look to see if any non-started, active jobs exist that were created from the template. If so, the following message is displayed:


If you click on Yes, then every job (10 in this example) will be updated so that all sub-lists exactly match the template.

Why are only sub-lists updated on the non-started jobs? Every one of those jobs will have an Equipment No and assuming that they are PPM jobs they will also have a job type, priority, planned date, work instructions etc. Some of these (job type, priority, work instructions etc) should obviously match the new template but quite  a few will be different for each job. This would include equipment no, planned date, budget, contract, customer and many, many more. These clearly should remain unchanged – or should they? It’s difficult to think of a situation where an equipment no would appear in a template (although I bet someone somewhere does have just such a template), but a job template referencing a contract is not so unlikely. Similarly, only rarely would templates include a Planned Date but there are situations when this might happen. This makes it virtually impossible for e-Quip to know how to deal with fields other than those which appear in sub-lists. There is no way for the software to determine if a field should be copied from the template (job type, priority etc), copied from the existing job (planned date, equipment no), or copied from the equipment record (contract, budget, customer etc- all of which may have changed since the job was originally created).

One approach would be for us to simply define some rules, such as: fields A, B & C are always copied from the template, fields P, Q & R are always copied from the existing job and fields X, Y & Z are always copied from the equipment record. Rules like this are never a good idea. They might work in some situations but not others and they seldom please everyone. For this reason we have chosen to restrict this feature to sub-lists only, which are, after all the reason that the feature has been added.

If you change the body (i.e. anything other than the sub-lists) of a template, then just use good old-fashioned bulk update to update the non-started jobs.



Equipment Last and Next PPM Dates


I have produced a fairly in-depth technical article which explains in some detail how and when the equipment last & next PPM dates are calculated and displayed. Understanding these details will give you a thorough knowledge of how PPM scheduling functions in e-Quip, and what happens behind the scenes when you save a PPM job. Even if you’re not interested in the technical detail, there is a section of tips which might help you to choose the most appropriate strategy (or more likely, strategies) for your inventory.

The article involves quite a few symbols and screen shots which are quite difficult to view in a browser, so instead I have provided a link to the original Word document which is much more readable. You can find the Office 7 version here and the Office 97/2003 version here. Office 7 is much better at displaying equations than Office 97/2003, so read that version if you can.  

I don’t want to give the impression that the article is full of equations, but once you’ve typed “The latest value of the WorkEndDate field for all completed PPM jobs for a device” 5 times the temptation to reach for the Microsoft Equation Builder becomes overwhelming. Throughout the article I use the symbols below to save an enormous amount of repetition.

If you have any problems viewing either of the documents then contact me and I will email you a copy.


Projects – Grouping Jobs Together

New in 1.19.0 – Projects

Sometimes it’s useful to be able to group jobs together. For example, at the start of BST you might need to create a job for each device with an internal clock to move the clock forwards by an hour. Of course, creating these jobs is really simple and can be done with a job template, but how can you quickly find these jobs to see how many you’ve done and how many you have left?

You could put something in the notes field of the job template and then search on that, or possibly use some special wording in the reported fault/work instructions field. Both of these solutions will work, but they’re not exactly an elegant solution.

Enter Projects! A project is nothing more than a list of jobs. A project has a code, name, description and notes, along with start and end dates and a team. A project can be assigned to an individual.

The job property page now has a Project field on the general tab. It supports Quick Filter and can also be searched for using Look For and the Filter Wizard.

We hope you find this useful


Test Equipment Calibration Expiry Dates

New in Version 1.17.0

A useful new field has been added to the equipment screen, called Calibration Expiry Date. It is intended for use on test equipment records but it can be used for any asset. It records the date after which the test equipment should not be used.

It is used by the test equipment list on the job property page. When adding a tester to a job, only active assets flagged as test equipment where the expiry date has not passed are selectable. The lookup also displays the calibration expiry date for your information.

I hope you find this new feature useful.


The Role Manager – Part 3

Managing Job Processing

There are several role options which define how jobs will be processed for members of that role, most of them can be found on the Job/Quick Job tab of the Role Manager when a role is being edited, although I have already covered in Part 2 the basic job rules which are configured on the Options tab.

In this post I will skip over the Quick Job settings and go straight to the important stuff.

Default Values

This section is probably straightforward; you can choose a default job type, status and priority for all jobs created via the user-interface (i.e. not created using Save As, templates etc).

Hide Caller Details

At the bottom of the General tab of the job property page there is a section to hold a lot of detail about the caller. This might be useful for roles which have a lot of interaction with non-hospital users, such as midwives, sommunity nurses etc. If you are not interested in this information then it can be turned off, as shown below.

Above is is the job property page with caller details shown, and below is the same screen with them hidden.

 Default Call Date

This option specifies how the call date is displayed when a job is created. You can either have no date (useful if you have secretarial staff who retrospectively add jobs to the database, or you can choose the current date, both with and without a time component.

Date / Status Relationships

These options control how various date fields should respond to changes in status, and how the job status should respond to changes in dates entered. The 1st 3 control how the status should change when various dates are entered. The last 2 control how the dates should change when the status changes.

1. When a job start date is entered, set the job status to: I think this is self explanatory. Very commonly users will want the job status to change to something like ‘In Progress’ when the work start date is entered.

2. When a job finish date is entered, set the job status to: Often users will want the job status to change to ‘Completed’ when the work finish date is entered.

3. When a job close date is entered, set the job status to: Very similar to option 2 above but relates to the closed date.

4. Set work start date when job started: If a user changes the job status to ‘In Progress’ it is a very common requirement that the work start date should change to be the current date (unless it already has a value). This option turns this behaviour on and off, and allows you to specify whether you want just a date, or a date and time.

5. Set work end date when job finished: Similar to 4 above. Commonly, if the job status changes to ‘Completed’ users require the work finish date to be set (if it doesn’t already have a value).

In the next post I’ll explain how the Office 2007 ribbon can be configured.