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Managing Bulk Loans with the Pocket-PC

(For an explanation of loan delivery using the Pocket-PC look here). This article concentrates on the bulk issue of devices. Suppose for example that: Theatres request 10 T34 Syringe Drivers

It would be time-consuming to have to enter 10 individual loan delivery list items. Instead, clicking the Add Batch button on the Items tab of the Loan Delivery List property page will simplify this.


This automatically creates the following delivery list items:


The devices may be “picked” using the Pocket-PC as with any other loan and delivered in the same way.

It can also be useful to use this technique when issuing multiple devices to a single patient – just leave the model field empty and update the list manually after the batch has been added.


This adds the following items:



Managing Loans with the Pocket-PC

After a recent meeting of the Pocket-PC SIG (Special Interest Group) the process of issuing and collecting devices has been streamlined in an effort to reduce (or eliminate) paperwork. This post will deal with issuing loans. Device collection has not changed but I will post an article explaining that process shortly. Also, to stop this article from being overly long I will publish an article describing batch deliveries very soon (probably today).

In retail environments there is a separation between what is known as “picking” and delivery. Picking is the act of choosing the items to be delivered. The Pocket-PC Loan Manager application now supports both picking and delivery. When you order your groceries on-line the person who picks the items to satisfy your order is not necessarily the same person who delivers them.

The Loan Delivery List is at the heart of the Pocket-PC mechanism for issuing loans. A small library might create a single delivery list per day while larger libraries may create 1 per site, or 1 for each member of staff. The example below assumes that a small, single-site library is using a single daily delivery list.

1. Create the delivery list

This can be done daily and the list can be kept open all day with requests being added as they are received.


2. A request from a ward is received

Janet Smith has requested a T34 Syringe Driver Driver and an Argus 708 Volumetric Pump for patient John Smith in Bay C in Holly Ward. The request is logged by Zara Page, who will be delivering the devices immediately.

Aside: Some libraries do nor record patient names, just Patient No’s. In e-Quip the Requested For field is used for both, so whether your enter John Smith or 1234567 is up to you. You also have the option of recording patients using an e-Quip patient records. This tends to be done by community libraries where patient addresses are required.

a). These requests are added to the Items tab


The fields completed are:

Request Date (Ctrl+H will enter the current date & time)
Requested By
Model (mandatory)
Location (mandatory)
Requested For
Delivered By

b). The librarian then clicks the Synch to Pocket-PC button


The delivery list is saved and the following screen is displayed. This allows the user to specify a) the location of the mobile database file which will be copied to the Pocket-PC and b) the loan requests which will be copied. Note that the default is to copy only requests linked to the currently logged-in user (i.e. Zara Page)


3. The librarian then takes the Pocket-PC to the library to select (i.e. Pick) the devices

When the Loan Manager application is first run the user must select his or her name from the first screen:


All outstanding loan requests are then displayed.


The librarian must then pick individual devices for each request. To do this he simply:

a. Taps on the request

b. Scans (or types) the Equipment No (Note that a GS1 bar code can be scanned)

c. Taps Save & Close


This is repeated for each device.

4. The librarian then takes the devices to Holly Ward

Suppose that Zara hands the devices to Sarah Brown, the Ward Clerk. To deliver both devices all that is necessary is to tap any one of the open requests.

Note: tapping a loan request which has no Equipment No opens the “picking” screen while tapping a loan request with an Equipment No opens the delivery screen. The 1st tab shows the location & patient details.

a. To deliver the device(s), tap on the Delivery tab


b. Enter Sarah Brown in the Accepted By field

c. Click Sign


d. Click Accept. This closes the signature screen and sets the delivery date & time field

e. Click Deliver All – this will deliver all requests for this Location, Bed & Patient

5. The librarian returns to the library

(After possibly continuing to other locations to deliver more devices). Before returning to the library the librarian may collect devices which are no longer required. The collection process will be described in a future article.

On returning to the library the Pocket-PC can be cradled and the loan information updated. This is done using the Sync Loans from Pocket-PC application. The loan below shows one of the 2 loans delivered by Zara Page using the Pocket-PC.


The synchronisation process also updates the delivery list to show that loans have been created.



Loan Consumables

A new feature has been added from version 3.30 which allows consumables to be issued with loans. For example, a wheelchair may be loaned to a patient and while the wheelchair itself is listed in the e-Quip inventory, things like cushions, stump supports etc may not be. In the past it would have been necessary to record these as free-text notes within the loan but this is far from ideal.

There is a new reference data item called a Loan Consumable which allows the consumables to be created and edited.


There is a new tab on the loan property page which allows consumables to be added to a loan.


We also plan to be add some reporting and stock control facilities for this new feature in time for the 3.3.0 release


Out of Hours Loan Application

Version 3.3.0 will include a simple application which will allow porters and other hospital staff to easily issue loans when the library is unattended. It is designed to work with a bar code scanner and ideally a touch screen, although it works just as well with a keyboard.

Out of Hours Loans

Let’s assume that a) you have barcode labels on each device in the library, b) a sheet of barcodes for each ward (ideally this would be laminated) and c) all staff have a barcoded Id badge. (remember, this will work without barcodes but they will save time).

Step 1: The porter clicks button No 1 “Click Here Before Removing any Equipment from this Room

Step 2: He scans his Id badge and clicks Next

Step 3: He scans the location where he will be taking the device(s) from the laminated sheet

Step 4: For each device he is taking he scans the Equipment No and clicks Next. As each device is scanned it will be added to the New Loans grid

Step 5: When he has finished he clicks button No 8 “Click Here When you have Finished

e-Quip will then create a loan for each device and reset the screen ready for the next batch.

When validating the person taking the equipment the utility first checks the e-Quip personnel code, which should match the Id badge barcode. It then searches on name. It does the same when validating the location.

That’s the basics, but we’re working on improvements already, like:

  1. The ability to issue loans to multiple locations
  2. An option to allow free-text issuer & locations

We’ll keep you posted.


The Equipment Loan Screen Redesign

We have been wanting to redesign the loan screen for some time – there was just too much information being displayed in a small space and it was becoming hard to maintain. We discussed this at the last user-group meeting and also set up a Special Interest Group (SIG) to focus on this. We recently had a SIG meeting where we discussed the requirements of libraries in a variety of environments: large, small, community, private sector, with RFID etc. As a result of this we are now able to show you the new loan screen.

The first thing to agree was the dataset that needs to be captured. e-Quip already handled most if not all of this. This is a lot of data, far too much to fit on a single page and very few of our users make use of every single data item. So the next step was to decide where all of this data should be displayed. Naturally the most commonly-used items should go on the general tab and the rest grouped and displayed accordingly.

The General Tab

The SIG thought that the most important data were:

1. Equipment Details
To save some screen space we have condensed this so that the brand, model & category are displayed as a single line.

2. Basic Loan Details:

a. Code: A unique identifier for the loan
b. Loan Status: In Progress, Finished etc
c. Loan Type: Long-term loan, Supplier Loan etc
d. Created By: The person logged-on to e-Quip who created the loan. This is read-only
e. Requested By: Who is asking for the device. The consensus was that a free-text field would be preferable to the current lookup.
f. Request Date: When the person above made the request
g. Start Date: When the loan started
h. Delivered/Issued By: Who either delivered the device or issued it from the library. This is a lookup since this will always be a staff member
i. Expected Return Date: Most of those at the meeting did not really see the need for this field but we decided to leave it on the front page in case other users did make use of it.
j. Out of Hours: This is a new checkbox
k. Team: Every item in e-Quip has a team. In multi-site operations it is the most common way of isolating data.

3. Where is the Device Going:

a. Loaned For: This is a free-text field in which many libraries record the patient name or hospital number, possibly both.
b. Patient: This is a lookup, and is used by a small number of sites where they actually record patient details. Usually the person that the device is being loaned for is recorded in either a) or b), but not both.
c. Location: Where the device is going.
d. Bed/Bay: A free-text field
e. Accepted By: The person that the device was handed to
f. Signature: The signature of e)
g. Clinical Details: We have 1 customer where the library staff refer to pressure ulcer grades & waterlow scores to routinely ensure that patients are using the most appropriate type of pressure-relieving mattress. Although this is not widespread practice amongst e-Quip users it is of crucial importance to that particular customer. For this reason we chose to include this on the front page.

4. Return Information:

a. Return Date: When the loan ended.
b. Returned By: This is a lookup, since equipment is always put back in the library by members of staff.
c. Pickup Location: Where the device was collected from.
d. Was the Device Damaged: A new checkbox
e. Decontamination: Was the device contaminated when it was returned. The type of contamination can be specified as food or blood/body fluids
f. Post-loan Decontamination Record: Many of our users make use of the checkbox “Auto-create decontamination record” on the Quick Loan utility. This lookup shows this record

Along with a notes field this makes up the fields on the general tab of the loan property page.


The General Tab

Community Loans

The tab that was previously labelled Address has now been renamed to Community. Two new fields have been added to support the processes of community libraries where devices are loaned to patients in their homes. In this scenario it is often the case that a Community Trust will have several hubs around the geographic area that they serve. The Trust may have a central equipment store but may maintain a small stock of devices at each hub. When loans are issued to patients’ homes they are often made from the nearest hub.

Similarly, a faulty wheelchair may be picked up from the patient’s home address and taken to a hub. It may be repaired there and taken back to the patient, or it may be sent back to the central library workshop.

A hub is represented as an e-Quip site.


Community Loans


Supplier Loans

This tab is used to record loans of devices from suppliers. It has not been changed as part of this redesign.

Financial Details

These are also unaffected by the redesign. However, we will soon be adding a feature whereby the total cost will be automatically updated when a loan is closed if a daily charge is specified.


This is a new tab which is essentially used for all of the fields which have been removed from the general tab, although some new fields have been added.

a. Borrower, Site, Healthcare Provider, Service & Customer: While almost all loans are issued to patients or to locations, e-Quip does have the ability to loan devices to particular individuals, hospitals, Trusts & services. These fields are all lookups.

b. Loan Request: e-Quip has a loan request feature which allows requests to be made for multiple devices. For example, Theatres may request 5 Infusion Pumps for March, 2016. This lookup allows a loan to be linked to a particular request. It is almost always set automatically when a loan is created from the loan request.

c. Pre-Loan Decontamination: Just as it is possible to decontaminate a device when a loan is returned it is also possible to do the same before a loan is issued. It is very unlikely that this field has ever been used since devices are almost always decontaminated either before or after their return.

d. Returned Condition: This drop-down used to appear on the general tab. The SIG felt that a Yes/No checkbox to indicate that bthe device was damaged was more appropriate than the drop-down list. It has been moved to the miscellaneous tab just in case some sites have been using it.

e. Returned By: This free-text field also used to be on the general tab. The consensus was that the person returning the device would always be a member of staff, so this field has also been moved to the miscellaneous tab.

f. Device Configuration: Another field which the SIG felt was little-used and which could be moved off the general tab.

g. Requested By (Staff): This lookup was originally on the front screen where it has been replaced by a free-text field.

h. Audit Details: This is a new feature supported by a new Pocket PC application which allows library staff to easily and quickly take audits of all devices in a particular location. I will post a separate article about this very shortly. In essence it has similar functionality to the Harland Simon RFID interface in that it can automatically create, update & close loans depending on what is found in a ward.





Loan Delivery and Collection Lists

Many of you will know Simon who runs the Addenbrooke’s Medical Equipment Library. He manages an extremely busy department, probably one of the busiest in the country. Simon is a big fan of RFID asset tracking, and although the integration with e-Quip and the Harland Simon Discovery system has yielded enormous benefits he still finds that it is taking a lot of paperwork to run the library. Part of the problem is that the library staff work from paper delivery & collection lists.

Loan Delivery List

As soon as a clinician requests a device it is added to a daily loan delivery list. Depending on the urgency of the request the library staff will either immediately take the appropriate device to whoever requested it, or batch the low-priority requests together. Individual devices are then assigned to each request and then loaded onto a trolley. The librarian then goes out into the hospital to deliver the devices. As each item is delivered he or she records the name of the person that he gave the device to and the delivery time.

Eventually the librarian returns to the library and needs to create the loans that he has recorded on his route through the wards. This is quite a time-consuming process.

Loan Collection Lists

As the librarian tours the hospital delivering devices, he also collects any items that are no longer required, while recording who gave him each device, where they were and the collection time. When he returns to the library he then uses this information to close loans as appropriate.

Getting Rid of the Paper!

As of version 2.12.0 we have added Loan Delivery Lists and Loan Collection Lists to e-Quip. While this hasn’t completely got rid of the paperwork yet, as soon as we implement a PDA-based version of this, that will be the end of the paper trail.

The e-Quip Loan Delivery List

A librarian would create a loan delivery list to cover a given period. For busy libraries this would almost certainly be a single day, but for less busy libraries it might relate to a week. As loan requests arrive they can be added to the delivery list, recording who requested what and when.

When the librarian fetches a particular asset to satisfy a request, he simply amends the list.

Once the trolley is loaded and the devices delivered to the people that requested them, the librarian records who he handed the device to, and the delivery time. Now, on return to the library, all he needs to do is to enter this information into the delivery list: e-Quip will do the rest. The loans will be automatically created and updated to show who received the equipment and the delivery time. This is useful if you need to produce KPI’s which indicate how long it is taking you to satisfy loan requests.

Talking of loan requests; in effect the loan delivery list essentially replaces the loan request screen with an easy-to-use interface which is able to automatically create loans. Another benefit of using delivery lists rather than loan requests is that these lists allow multiple different devices to be requested, whereas loan requests do not support this.

The e-Quip Loan Collection List

The loan collection list is the logical inverse of the delivery list. A collection list is created, either for a day or week, depending on how busy the library is. As the library staff tour the hospital collection devices, all they need to record is a) the device they picked up, when they collected it and c) who and where they collected it from.

When they update the loan collection list with this information, the system automatically closes down loans, as appropriate.

Next Stop – PDA Delivery & Collection Lists

We are planning to implement loan delivery and collection lists on the PDA. When this happens (probably within the next two months), that will mean an end to loan libraries chasing paper.