It’s been how long?

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Today, I got a call from the Tier 1 Desk Monkeys, indicating someone had a critical problem. The doctor stated he hadn’t worked for us for 18 months, and now “all of a sudden”, he’s the medical on-call, and he needs all new accounts. He claimed this was critical to patient care, and that someone of his stature shouldn’t be made to wait, and should have had everything ready for him upon his arrival, all because he had the letters “MD” after his name.

We just kicked it to the local site, and told the person flat-out that it’ll have to wait until Monday. This obviously wasn’t good enough, and he wanted us to set him up immediately. I told him not only would it violate policy, but there was no way we knew whether he had completed the mandatory training, what menus/access keys he needed to the EHR database, and so on, only local could, and I very seriously doubt the local on-call tech would either since they almost never deal with the creation of accounts.

I also took the liberty of asking the doctor two very pertinent questions “Why didn’t you come in ahead of time during the week to get your accounts set up if you knew you were on call?” and “What makes you more important than the 53 people ahead of you who also claimed THEIR issues affected patient care?” He made up some lame excuses about how he’s a doctor and shouldn’t have to do such things ahead of time, they should be ready to go when he walks in the door, and he reiterated just how important he was, and how he was going to send a nasty letter to my boss. I told him to go right ahead and add it to all the others who felt they were above following the proper and established policies & procedures. He hung up after that.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens review ***No Spoilers***

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Last night, I saw an early showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

To say it was amazing was an epic understatement. I truly believe that J.J. Abrams hit it out of the park with a grand slam home run. The actors’ performances were completely on-point, the story was very engaging, if a touch familiar, but this is an advantage. Truly, this movie breathes new life in to the epic saga that is Star Wars, and while I was thrilled to see all the familiar characters of Han Solo, Princess Leia, Like, C3P0, R2-D2, and others, they leave plenty of room for the new characters, and in some cases, play 2nd fiddle to them, to pass the torch to the new generation.

I would highly recommend it. And I believe people will enjoy the previews as well of some of the movies to come. Several people in the theatre were geeking out on the previews alone, since they had previews for everyone, including the new Star Trek: Beyond movie, X-Men Apocalypse, and Captain America: Civil War.

Common Sense is so uncommon…

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Today, I was instant messaged not once but twice by the same Tier 1 Desk Monkey for problems at two separate sites. The first time in the morning, the Desk Monkey asked me to update him on an issue out of a site in which patients couldn’t call into a pharmacy line and get their prescriptions refilled by phone. The second one later that afternoon was for an update on an error popping up for a couple users for their EHR GUI program at a completely different site.

There were several problems with these two issues I was presented with:

  1. In both cases, the tickets were sent directly to the sites in question, bypassing my team completely, meaning my team had no idea either of these tickets even existed, prior to the Desk Monkey IM’ing me.
  2. Both tickets were under 20 minutes old when the Desk Monkey IM’d me for both of them, meaning the local sites’ IT departments likely had no time to even acknowledge the existence of the tickets, let alone work on them.
  3. As direct a result of #2, there were no troubleshooting notes whatsoever in the tickets, meaning there was absolutely no information I could give the Desk Monkey regarding these issues.
  4. The Desk Monkey also asked if I was going to declare either of these issues a Site Outage, when there was nothing in the ticket to justify anything close to it.
  5. I asked the obvious question to the Desk Monkey, “Why are you IM’ing me instead of the local site for an update? I wasn’t even aware of the existence of this ticket until you told me about it just now.”

The Tier 1 Desk Monkey’s response was simply that his department’s policy was to specifically contact my team for any and all questions on tickets THEY (the Tier 1 Desk Monkeys) submitted, even if my team wasn’t aware of the ticket’s existence. Yess… you read that correctly, even though his team received the call for the problem, and even though HIS team put in the ticket and submitted it to the local site, WE were supposed to be providing HIM with answers and updates on it, even if we were completely unaware of the ticket’s existence.

I just shook my head after each instance, and after the 2nd instance of this happening, which made the 5th time this week I got pinged for something like this, I decided to send an email up the chain with my concerns about this. I laid out the arguments I had made above, as well as a copy/paste of both IM chats. I also made the point of asking why the Tier 1 Desk Monkeys would choose to IM specific people in my team as opposed to sending an email or calling our team’s number, saying that the IM method was impractical for several reasons. We could be otherwise indisposed, away from our desks, on the phone or conference call when they IM, and we can’t break away to answer this IM. And several members of the team have stated that on several occasions, even when they’ve marked themselves as “Busy”, “Be Right Back”, or “Do Not Disturb” on the IM, they still get hit up via IM by the Desk Monkeys for updates on tickets and outage requests.

I also made mention in the email of one recent and memorable case. A Desk Monkey contacted one of my coworkers on my shift with an update for a ticket, only for her to tell the Desk Monkey that neither she nor the rest of our team knew anything regarding the ticket and that she couldn’t give him an update. The Desk Monkey misconstrued what she said, instead writing in the ticket notes the claim that she refused to help him with the ticket, that our team refused to take the ticket, etc. She was quite upset about this, so she replied in the ticket notes that she never said any such thing, only that our team was never even notified of the ticket, nor were there any notes in it, so she couldn’t provide him with any kind of an update.

I also made mention that upon a cursory examination of both tickets and making a few calls after the fact, neither of them came even remotely close to the level of being declared a high priority ticket, let alone to the level of declaring them a site outage. In the case of the first ticket, it turned out three patients who always had trouble with the line, complained when they couldn’t put their patient ID numbers in after being successfully connected to the aforementioned pharmacy line. And the 2nd issue regarding error for the EHR GUI, turned out to be only 4 people getting a connection error, while they were in a shared office known for its faulty wiring.

Missing the obvious…

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Yesterday, I was contacted regarding an outage for a local site. A user claimed the network for his entire building was down, that it was a critical issue, and they needed help immediately. Pretty quickly, I saw something was amiss. A cursory check of our monitoring system showed the entire site’s network was running just fine, and all switches/routers/etc. were in the green. I shot a quick email to the networking team there for the sake of due diligence, letting them know of this ticket, and asking them to verify things just in case they could see something I was missing.

They quickly got back to me saying that the user was verifying that the network was down and needed help right away. And speaking of right away, I noticed a glaring problem… if the network for the whole building was down, how could the user have responded to them via email? A quick check verified he didn’t have a BlackBerry or smartphone, so I replied back to the site’s networking team with the following:

“Silly question… How can the user be emailing you if the network is down for the building?” Their only response was “I didn’t notice that… let me check.”

Turned out the user had tried to log into a mobile computer, and it was taking longer than he was accustomed to for the computer to log in, so he called to claim the whole network was down just to get some attention, and he had since logged into another computer with no problem at all.

Throw us under the bus, why don’t you?

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This morning, within 15 minutes of logging into the shift, a ticket came across my desk. The ticket itself seemed simple enough, and was an obvious local issue involving a single user having an issue opening a locally-supported program, which happened to be mis-routed to my team. Since the local site hadn’t touched it yet, I kicked it their way, along with a note to do some troubleshooting and help the user out.

The problem tarted about 10 minutes later. My coworker got a call from the Tier 1 Desk Monkeys, notifying us of the ticket and my coworker said that the ticket had already been sent to the local site to do initial troubleshooting. On a whim, a few minutes later, my coworker opened up the ticket, only to discover that the Tier 1 Desk Monkey had completely misconstrued what she had said, claiming that she told him our team refused to help the user with the ticket, and that this should never have come to us. While the latter was true in the strictest sense, nothing my coworker said to the Desk Monkey made it sound like we were refusing to help the user, but she had instead said that the ticket was already sent to local by one of her coworkers (me), and that local would help the user out.

This wasn’t the end of it though. The person who called it in was called by the Desk Monkey and told that my team refused to help, so in turn, he sent an email to our division chief, throwing us under the bus and claiming that we were refusing to do our jobs. Our division chief looked up the ticket, and saw my coworker’s note in it, correcting the Tier 1 Desk Monkey, as well as my own notes saying that I was sending the ticket for some initial troubleshooting, since there was no troubleshooting at all in the ticket. Our division chief replied back, wondering how the Desk Monkey could’ve misinterpreted “our team has already sent this ticket to the local site 10 minutes ago” as “we don’t want to help the user and this isn’t our jobs”, when the issue was such an obvious local problem, involving a single user on a single computer having a problem with a single program.

The user who called the ticket in originally, who himself has a reputation among my team as someone who doesn’t like doing their job, trying to get others to do his job for him, replied back, saying he wanted this fixed immediately because it was a major problem for him, and demanding regional level support for this, but we all stood firm, saying that the local site really needed to take a look at it first and try to fix it, since they had all the necessary rights to troubleshoot the systems at their own site.

After several more emails back and forth like this, the user who called it in went behind everyone’s back and had a sympathetic tech reassign the ticket to the regional support division HE thought it should’ve gone to, which wasn’t even close to the correct one it should have gone to, if it in fact rose to the level of requiring regional level support. He promptly shut up after that, and it wasn’t until an hour later when my coworker refreshed the ticket list did she notice that someone from the local site had sent the ticket up without bothering to tell anyone, and only minimal notes concerning what troubleshooting was done.

But we don’t wanna!

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Today, my team got quite the surprise from one of the local sites we supported.

It started off innocently enough, when the supervisor for the local site’s interior design department emailed our team, asking us to do an enterprise activation on a smartphone she had just received from local IT. We sent her the standard answer that local IT really should be the ones sending us these emails, and not the users themselves. We CC’d a few people on the email so they were aware, including the regional team we’d normally send these emails to.

A few hours later, the local CIO replied back, and in a message the was unusually out-of-character for him, stated that the site’s local IT shop would no longer be sending the emails, and expected the users themselves to send these emails to us, because he claimed he simply didn’t have the staff to send these emails, despite having the staff to issue these phones. Thing is, other sites have had far worse staff shortages than this site, and yet, the rest of them had no trouble sending enterprise activation requests to us, as part and parcel of the process of issuing a smartphone to users, especially since it’d be much easier for all involved, given that they had all the necessary info for the enterprise activation right at-hand. Plus, we couldn’t always count on the technological savvy of end users to provide us with the information needed to do the enterprise activation, not to mention some users were notoriously difficult to a hold of.

When my team read the email he sent, we were very surprised, because as I mentioned, the email he sent was extremely out-of-character for him. Plus, having local IT instead of the end users send these enterprise activation emails has been a long-standing policy, which all other sites have complied with, no matter what their staffing situations have been. And the supervisor for the regional enterprise activation team replied to the local CIO and backed us up, stating in no uncertain terms that local IT has to be the one to send the information, not only because they often have the information for the smartphone right at-hand, but they can be assured the information is accurate. Plus, what would stop another end user from swiping the phone and claiming they had just received the phone, asking that it be wiped and have a new enterprise activation pushed in its place if it didn’t go through local IT.