South Florida Hospital News
Sunday May 26, 2019
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June 2008 - Volume 4 - Issue 12

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Applying Aviation Technology to a Filing System

Back in 1988, Jan Stoutamire sent her husband, David, on a mission. After their children were in school, Jan was interested in re-starting her career. Jan is from Canada and was Rorer Canada’s first female pharmaceutical representative. David is a retired Air Force Reserve Colonel who was serving as a commercial airline pilot at the time, and he describes the sequence of events:

"One of her relatives had a factory in Canada that manufactured some of the products we (now) use," he said, "like the charts and labels doctors use to keep patient files. With her previous experience in the medical field, she decided to start a filing business, and at the time I was a pilot for Eastern Airlines, so I said, 'Good luck, have fun with it.'"

But when Jan was scheduled to go to Winnipeg for training on how to set up a filing system, she came down with the flu. She asked her husband to go in her place then come back and train her. "Since I take orders very well I said, 'Yes ma'am,' and off I went," he quipped.

David admitted that he became intrigued when he learned about the product. "When I got up there, I really got excited about the whole concept of open-shelf, color-coded filing, and the whole industry. So I came back and explained everything to her, and she said, 'You know, you drive to Miami International Airport two or three times a week, you could call on some accounts on your way to the airport.' So I did that, dropping in on health care facilities, and we started to acquire clients."

The result of that trip 20 years ago is a company called Advanced Filing Systems, which has the ability to set up filing and storage structure for medical practices. Using a variety of high-density storage systems, rolling files, rotary files, and vertical lift machines called Lektrievers, David likes to say Advanced Filing can help a company "get 10 lbs. in a 5-lb. bag, with room to spare for future growth."

But much as he enjoys working with files, David never quite left his background behind. As he explained, "I've always been interested in the technology end and how we can use it to help people improve their filing and their storage. I just took my background in aviation, which was technology-based, and applied it to the filing and storage system business. That's how I came to be interested in RFID, the latest product for filing and storage."

RFID—Radio Frequency Identification—is what helps customers locate any documents or items that may have been misplaced. David talked about how this is done by comparing it with aviation. He said air traffic controllers use radar to send out signals that hit the airplane. The airplane has a transponder that sends a signal back identifying itself as American flight #1234, traveling at 500 mph eastbound from Dallas to Miami. "So the signal identifies the planes, and that's how the air traffic controllers keep everybody sorted out."

In the same manner, David said, "We applied that concept to documents or pharmaceutical supplies or anything a hospital or doctor's office or any health care facility would need to track. An RFID chip can be attached to file folders or charts or medications or whatever it might be."

He called it a "crack and peel label—just a sticker—with a little chip in it the size of a pinhead. Or if you don't use a sticker, you can use a little cardholder that ties on, similar to a luggage tag on a suitcase."

To retrieve a misplaced folder, David said, "You would go into your software program and see that item number 406 is missing. So you take a hand-held device, like a scanner, and punch in 406. Then you walk around, and when it beeps, you're within five feet of it."

He said the idea of using RFID chips for filing and storage is relatively new. "It's like the iPod for our industry; it's the latest and the greatest."

Aviation and filing. The two wouldn't seem to have much in common, but David Stoutamire found a way to combine his technical background with what he learned during training to offer clients a top-notch filing and retrieval system.

For more information, call (877) 792-8226 or visit www.advancedfiling.com.
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