Monday, March 18, 2013

Ahead of Our Time

Fifty years ago, we adapted leading-edge computer systems to non-defense work
by Robert W.

In the early 1960s, I was a member of an R&D team in Sunnyvale assigned to adapt our leading-edge computer systems' knowledge to non-defense work. Our focus was on hospital information systems. We teamed with El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California, to be our Alpha Site. Our goal was to automate all possible manual information handling systems. At that time, almost all of these systems were labor intensive, paper-based and error prone.

I was an industrial engineer assigned to identify those manual systems that could be transferred to computer operation and, thus reduce hospital labor expenditures, communication errors and patient lengths of stay. These goals were achieved, with major cost savings results and improvement in patient care and safety.
The developed system was installed during the ensuing years in hospitals all over the United States and in Europe. My job was to perform cost benefits studies for potential customer hospitals to showing major savings.

The Lockheed system was many years ahead of its time. The Government is now calling for improved information systems in hospitals as a major way of reducing national health care costs.