Tag ArchiveWhat’s New


Tr-State Checkboxes

Checkboxes are used to record Boolean, or yes/no values. You will have seen them all over e-Quip and many other Windows applications that you use.

Most often these are 2-state values, i.e. yes or no. In the example below, the battery was checked but not reconditioned or replaced:

This is adequate for editing single records but has limitations when using Bulk Update to edit a batch of records. It is simple to set a value to Yes (just tick the checkbox), but how can you set a value to No? A 2-state checkbox cannot be used for this, as we need a way to indicate:

  1. Set this to Yes
  2. Set this to No
  3. Leave this as it is

This is why we now use tri-state checkboxes for the equipment and job screens. The 3 states are illustrated below:

This means:

  1. The battery was not checked
  2. The battery was reconditioned
  3. No information is available as to whether or not the battery was replaced

Within a Bulk Update operation this is interpreted as:

For each selected record:

  1. Set Battery Checked to No
  2. Set Battery Reconditioned to Yes
  3. Leave the Battery Replaced field as it is

Initially we have added these just to the equipment and job property pages but we will add them to other screens which support Bulk Update as time permits.

As always, any feedback would be much appreciated.


Multiple-Selection Lookups

Although the lookup control has always had internal support for multiple selections, the e-Quip client has never taken advantage of this. From version 3.7.8 this feature is now available within e-Quip.

While this is not appropriate for every lookup there are several situations where this can save some time. Adding spare parts to a job is a good example. Previously, to add each of the selected parts below to a job would have required 5 individual selections.

This can now be done with a single operation.

Naturally, the spare part location selection works exactly as it would if the parts were selected individually. Note also that the costs are updated as you would expect.

We will gradually roll-out this feature to all lookups where multiple selection is appropriate.

As always, any feedback would be much appreciated.


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.




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: http://www.e-quip.uk.net/blog/version-3-6-0-will-be-released-this-week/

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 Progress

Here’s a brief update on what’s in version 3.6.0 so far. The release will be in the spring so we’ve got plenty more ideas in the pipeline.

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 0 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.

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.


Job Couriers

We have added a new tab to the job property page to record details of up to two couriers.


Contract Multi-Year Tab

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. It’s still a busy screen!


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).

PPQ’s (PAQ’s)

Supplier and Model lookups have been added to the PPQ property page.



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.


System Options

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

Training Events

A PO Number field has been added to the Training Event property page.

Competence Groups

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).

In the past, both the People and TNA sub-lists showed: Employee No, Staff Name, Grade, which made it difficult to sort those screens on surname. You will see above that the name is now displayed as: First Name, Middle Name & Surname, so it is now simple to sort on surname.

That’s about all so far. We’ll keep you posted as more features are added and as the release gets closer. As always, any feedback is always welcome



GS1 and Data Matrix Labels

With the increasing popularity of GS1 data matrix equipment labels seem to be becoming more common. GS1 doesn’t mean that you have to use data matrix but I suppose that moving to GS1 makes people focus on things like equipment labelling. GS1 allows you to use whatever symbology you choose, but data matrix is a very popular choice. It is now possible to print GS1-compliant data matrix labels directly from e-Quip.

The first thing to bear in mind when designing labels is that there are two main parts to the label: the bits designed to be read by humans and the bits designed to be read by machines. The human-readable part is there for your convenience and can pretty-much contain whatever you like, although there will be some GS1 rules about what must be included in order to be officially compliant.

The machine-readable component needs to encode the entire GS1 GIAI (Global Individual Asset Identifier). If you’re familiar with GS1 you will know that this is made up of several pieces:

GIAI Identifer – The fixed text “8004” which tells software that the data which follows is a GIAI.

GS1 Company Prefix – an 8 digit code assigned by GS1 which identifies your organisation. For example, the GS1 prefix for the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is 50552071

GS1 Sub-Prefix – An organisation is free to sub-divide itself into as many divisions as it chooses using a sub-prefix. The length of the sub-prefix depends on the size of the organisation. A length of 1 digit allows up to 10 sub-divisions (0-9), 2 digits allow 100, and so on. It is the organisation which decides the size of the prefix that they need.

Don’t confuse sub-prefixes with locations. In GS1 these are called GLN’s (Global Location Numbers)

The Equipment No – the code that your organisation uses to identify the device.

Putting all of these together gives you a GIAI: 8004505520710125452

This must be encoded into the machine-readable portion of the label, which is commonly a bar code or a data matrix code. You might also want to present some of this information in the human-readable part of the label.


Here’s an example of a GS1 data matrix label printed from within e-Quip. Note that the human-readable part of the GIAI has been formatted with dashes and brackets to make it a little more readable. The dashes allow the GS1 prefix and sub-prefix to be seen. In this example I have used the Addenbrooke’s prefix and assumed a sub-prefix length of 3. The original Equipment No is also included. The data matrix does not include any of this formatting – when you scan the data matrix all that is read is “8004505520710125452”.

Below you can see a real label from Addenbrooke’s. They use very clever labels with built-in passive RFID tags.


So, how did we print our label in e-Quip? You will probably be aware of the Microsoft Word reports which e-Quip can produce. Well, a bar code label is just a Word equipment report, albeit a very small one. There is an example from an earlier version of e-Quip below.


How you design these reports is explained in the documentation. It is very simple and simply involves creating a Word document with mail-merge tags to identify which values should be taken from the database. This is what the document for the label above looks like.


The item of text that says <<EquipmentCode>> is Word mail-merge field. The value EquipmentCode tells the report to replace this text with the Equipment No from the database (i.e. 25452). In Word the font for this text is set to “C39P24DlTt 20 point”. This is a free Windows bar code font. The way that this font works is that every character between “*” and “*” will be displayed as a bar code. It’s all fairly straightforward.

Unfortunately things aren’t quite so simple when it comes to data matrix. It’s not possible to format a data matrix encoding just using a font or to control its size by simply setting a font size. The Word extract below shows how to design a data matrix label.


I have used a Word table to help me lay the label out. There are a few things to notice here:

<<EquipmentCode>> – As before, this means “replace this text with the Equipment No from the database”

<<GS1_GIAI{32,32}$DM>> – This is a bit more complex:

GS1_GIAI – This is a database field name (just like EquipmentCode). You can see it in the e-Quip Column Chooser just like any other field. It contains the full GIAI for the device, i.e. 8004505520710125452. It is built dynamically from the Healthcare Provider GS1 Prefix and sub-prefix, with 8004 at the beginning at the Equipment No at the end.

$DM – Tells the reporting system that this is a data matrix code, not ordinary text

{32,32} – The size that you want the data matrix code to be

<<GS1_GIAIPreamble>> – This is another new field which we have added to e-Quip (and is available in the Column Chooser). It formats the first part of the GIAI into a human-readable format: (8004)-50552071-001

<<EquipmentCode>> – This appears a 2nd time to show the fully-formatted human-readable identifier: (8004)-50552071-001-25452

<<ProviderName>> – This is another field name to be substituted from the database. There are hundreds of fields available. For example you might want to add:

<<SerialNo>>, <<LocationShortName>> or <<ServiceShortName>>

How does the data matrix code get printed? As soon as the report processor spots the $DM marker in the Word document it calls an internal routine to create a data matrix image of the GS1_GIAI (read from the database) with a size read from “{32,32}”. It writes this bitmap to a temporary file. This file is then inserted into the Word Document.

We hope that you find this new functionality useful. As always, any feedback is always welcome










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.



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.



Coming Soon – 3.3.0 Feature Preview

Work on version 3.3.0 is well underway and having just posted an article about the library changes I thought I would give you an update about what has gone into the next version so far:

  1. Loan screen redesign
  2. Pocket PC loan auditor
  3. Support for Office 2007 xlsx & docx files
  4. Embedded documents as well as document links
  5. Two pictures on the model scree
  6. Two pictures on the spare parts screen
  7. Improved Nurse Training TNA report
  8. “Accepts Credit Card” added to supplier screen
  9. Service added to contract screen
  10. “Has Patient Data” added to model screen
  11. Customer added to Job QBE
  12. Decommission request added to equipment screen
  13. Life added to category screen
  14. Job Excel import improved. It can now be used to update as well as create jobs
  15. Test Software added to Reference Data Manager
  16. “Security Watermarked” checkbox added to equipment screen
  17. It is now possible to configure how many items can appear in the Excel column-filtering tick list before the message TOO MANY ITEMS appears
  18. Support added for 10 year contracts
  19. Auto-email support added to loans and refresher training

We plan to be releasing this version in the spring, so there’s plenty more to come. We will keep you up-to-date as things progress