<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-KDSJHW" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden">

Physician On-Call Scheduling and On-Call Management Blog
by Justin Wampach

10 Mistakes Doctors Have Made Buying On-call Software (part 2)

Posted by Justin Wampach on Fri, May 11, 2012 @ 09:48 AM

describe the imageDoctors who wish to enhance their practice and provide better care and service to their patients and themselves by using physician scheduling software are on the right track. Unfortunately, they don’t always go about it the right way.

Last week we posted three of the top ten mistakes that doctors have made when purchasing call scheduling software.  Here is a recap of the top 3, along with number four through ten.

  1. Wanting too many bells and whistles. 

  2. Trying to save a penny. 

  3. Thinking someone else understand your business.

  4. Losing sight of the basics – KISS:  Your primary aim is to improve your productivity, and you should always keep this in mind! Anything else should come later. For example, we have clients who request payroll integration in their on-call software. But delaying an order or cancelling an order based on just this one feature is unjustified. Nice to have is not the same as “essential” – and adding too many features just results in “bloatware”. It is a mistake to want your software to do too many things right from the start. Get what is essential, and build from there.

  5. Waiting for something better:  Doctors often keep on waiting for something better to come along. Unless you don’t jump in the water, you aren’t going to learn how to swim. Some of the best run private hospitals have been early adopters of technology. Today they might still be using legacy systems, but they are much better run than non IT friendly setups. It’s true that software will evolve over time, but you cannot wait for perfection. Software is always a work in progress, which gets improved and polished incrementally.

  6. Thinking your staff shares your vision:  Many good doctors buy the perfect software and then find that it does not help them at all. Often they blame the software for being unfriendly or useless. Most doctors fail to understand that their staff is one of the key stake holders in this process. Unless the staff uses the software, it is bound to fail. The software may be the best in the world, but if it is not used properly, it isn’t living up to its potential. Doctors need to be firm and to share their vision for the software with their staff. It is a mistake to assume that software will be easily adopted by support staff, nurses and fellow doctors. Provide lots of training – and if some members refuse to use this, you need to take them to task.

  7. Not nurturing innovation:  The biggest stake holders in this industry are the doctors. It is important for them to nurture innovation. Sometimes it is valuable to take a risk or allow a software company to go that extra mile in providing a feature which will change the process flow of your clinic. Doctors who refuse to try out products which provide extra features or new age ideas because they do not understand its utility are closing the door on innovation. A doctor who asks me to block some modules to save money because he feels he will not use them is basically closing his own mind to the potential of using new processes to improve his practice. Do not buy the module in the beginning, but keep an open mind.

  8. Underestimating the complexity of your needs:  Running a clinic is running a small business. It’s a complex enterprise, and often doctors over-estimate their ability to do a good job. Ideally, you should be focused on taking care of your patients, so your staff can run the clinic. If you find you are spending time on routine administrative tasks, this means you are wasting your time and money. There are only 24 hours is your day – learn to use them sensibly. A good doctor scheduling software program will help you to improve your productivity and that of your staff, if you use it to its fullest extent.  Don’t get stuck buying a cheap program which was designed for a small shop – you will end up being unhappy and dissatisfied.

  9. Delaying a decisions:  The single biggest mistake a doctor makes in buying call scheduling software is when he delays his decisions – whether it is thinking about his needs; talking to the vendor; spelling out his requirement; installing the program ; or getting training for his staff. As a result, the vendor is frustrated; the doctor is confused; the staff is anxious. Start small – but start today!

  10. Not providing enough time for training.  While doctors understand that learning a new medical procedure can take time, unfortunately, they are not willing to invest the same time in training their staff – and themselves – in learning how to use the software properly.  This can cause a lot of frustration and when this happens, many doctors just give up on the idea of using any software at all, because they feel their staff is either too busy or not willing to learn something new.  Give your team the benefit of the doubt, also lead by example.  Show your team how important this change is by being a part of it.

Click me

Topics: call scheduling software, physician software, physician scheduling, on call, on-call software, physician scheduling software, doctor scheduling software, on call schedule, call scheduling

Call scheduling done wrong: 10 things you can do to make it worse

Posted by Justin Wampach on Thu, Mar 15, 2012 @ 10:29 AM

call scheduling things not to doMost physicians agree that anything to do with on-call stinks.  But there are things that your practice can do to make it better or worse for your providers.  If you really want to make it as bad as it can be, do these 10 things and you will see it go from bad to worse quickly.

  1. Don't compensate one of your doctors for creating and maintaining the call schedule, make them do it for free. 
  2. Force your scheduler to do the work of creating, maintaining and publishing the call schedule on their own time at home.
  3. Allow each of the doctors the ability to have any rule or preference that they want.
  4. Negotiate next to impossible rules and scheduling accommodations for new providers that are joining the group.
  5. Allow all of your providers to decide when they are going to take days off and be on vacation after the oncall schedule is published.
  6. Try to balance your provider tallies monthly.
  7. Force your scheduler to "catch people up" when they take time off after the schedule has been created.
  8. Print out a paper copy of the schedule and give it to the providers.
  9. Allow your providers to make changes and swaps between themselves without any process or procedure.
  10. All of your providers to schedule themselves with or without software.

By following all 10 of the items listed above, you can create the worst-of-the-worst scenario for your providers.  You can be sure that this will help you accomplish the following:

  1. Longer wait times for your patients in the ER
  2. The wrong doctor getting called in the middle of the night
  3. Unfair tallies and workload for some doctors
  4. Higher turnover rate of person creating the schedule
  5. Unhappy physicians

There is another approach to call scheduling, doing it the right way.  In a recent blog post 3 Cost Effective Steps to a Modern Call Schedule you can learn about another approach.  This one may give you, your providers and patients a better outcome.

Topics: oncall, on-call software, doctor scheduling software, on call schedule, call scheduling

Are the New York Giants a better team than your management team?

Posted by Justin Wampach on Mon, Feb 06, 2012 @ 11:25 AM


What does Eli Manning and the New York Giants team have in common with you and your team at the clinic?  You're probably saying, not much, but there is a lot more similarities in the two teams than you might think.


Football Team

Medical Practice

Highly paid players Highly paid doctors
Large up-front investment Large up-front investment
Each player is a specialist Each doctor is a specialist
Paid staff to support team Paid staff to support doctors
Players want to be on a winning team  Doctors want to be in a winning practice
Highly paid coaching staff Highly paid management team
Players can be traded Doctors can leave

One of the major differences is that football players listen to their coaching staff.  Although the players make more money and have more status and influence, when they get together as a team, they listen to their leader and are all on the same page with the same goal in mind, WIN.  Let’s compare that to a physician owned clinic.  In that scenario, the Doctors run the show and although there is an administrator, I don't think that many groups look them as business experts.

In the game of Football, what is needed to win is points.  You get points by scoring touchdown and field goals.  You score touchdowns and field goals by working together as a team.  Out on the field, everyone is important.  In this past Super Bowl, if Eli Manning didn't have teammates defending him, he could not do his job.  The team wouldn't be ready to play if there wasn't staff and facilities for practices.  It also would not be possible without fans.  Who wants to play in an empty stadium?  Everyone is a star on the team.  Although some stars are better than others, everyone’s contribution is key to success.  A football team is a well oiled machine.  When the machine works it is in its best position to win games.

In the business of Medicine, what is needed to win is profit.  You earn profit by treating patients.  You treat patients by working together as a team.  In the clinic everyone is important.  Without certain members of your team, for example, maintenance, physician on-call scheduler, accounting, you cannot effectively compete.  When you compete without your staff, you are at a disadvantage and increase your chances of loosing.  There are no stars on the team, everyone is equally as important.  If you strive to provide the same level of quality and service each time, everyone’s contribution needs to count.

So when you ask yourself if the New York Giants are a better team than your management team, show me the rings. 

Although I am not a big sports fan, I am always fascinated at how teams work together for a common goal, winning.  I think that health care and independent clinics specifically can learn some valuable lessons from how these big-fancy teams win.

Topics: oncall, on-call software, doctor scheduling software, on call schedule, call scheduling

3 Cost Effective Steps to a Modern On Call Schedule

Posted by Justin Wampach on Fri, Jan 20, 2012 @ 03:21 PM

old school new schoolHow much time do you currently spend creating, maintaining and publishing your physician oncall schedule?  What tools do you use to assist you?  If you are still creating the schedule by hand and then entering it into Excel or Outlook so that it is accessible to your Doctors online, you might be a good candidate to modernize your process.

The reasons for modernization are pretty simple to understand, the main features that most new users love are:

  1. The ability to program rules into the system
  2. A scheduling engine that will assist you in placing people in jobs
  3. Automatic tallies to prove fairness
  4. Easy way for providers to request and document time off 
  5. Simple way to view the on-call information online

If your ready to take the next step and look at the "new way" here are a few tips that will assist you so that you do not waste your time.

1.  Access your requirements.  What are the top 3-5 things that you expect the software to assist you with.  Put them into a priority list.  Remember that software will not solve world hunger or all of your scheduling needs, make sure you know what is most important for you to get the most value.

2.  Evaluate solutions.  Go to www.google.com and search for call scheduling software or physician scheduling software. Check out a few of the top search results companies and see what they have to offer.  Use the top 3-5 requirements that you discovered above and make sure the software has those features.  Check out a demo.  Look at the references page to see what their current customers think of the product.  The best piece of advice I can give you for this step is to make a decision.  Updating a software system in an office should be a fairly simple decision.  Just make sure that you have an out if it turns out not to be the right choice. 

3.  90-day-trial.  I am a big advocate of trying before buying.  Keep in mind that call scheduling software requires set-up and data entry to use the system, but it is worth the effort for a fair evaluation.  As long as you have a full feature trial I would also suggest finding a paid trial.  With a paid trial you will most likely have free training and support.  These are critical services as a software newbie.  I would pick a trial over a money back guarantee any day, why?  Because in a “money back guarantee” you’re not the one who decides if you get your money back, the person that has your money is.  Don't pay for services in advance and take that risk.  All SaaS call scheduling software providers offer monthly, pay-as-you-go options.

Modernizing your on-call scheduling process with software is an easy investment that will become more valuable each time you use it.


Topics: call scheduling software, oncall, physician scheduling, physician scheduling software, doctor scheduling software, adopting on-call software, on call schedule

Call Scheduling Software: Everyone has an expectation

Posted by Justin Wampach on Tue, Dec 20, 2011 @ 10:14 AM

expectationsvsrealityAlthough I have been advised not to editorialize in my blog (duly noted) I thought that it might be useful to have a brief chat about expectations.  Prospects, customers and vendors all have different expectations about how things will work regarding doctor scheduling software. 

Here are a few call scheduling software prospect and customer myths that I can dispel.

  1. I should only have to pay for what I use in the software.
  2. The software should set itself up (including all of the information about my providers).
  3. You don't need any training on how to use call scheduling software.
  4. Software will schedule my providers just like I do with Excel.
  5. I want you to be my partner, but I will not treat you that way.
  6. The software should be able to accommodate that certain things only happen sometimes.
  7. The schedule will display the way I want it.
  8. The schedule will show up in my phone the way I want it.
  9. Software customization (custom programming) should be very easy and inexpensive.
  10. The software should be damn near free.

When you stop and think about it there is no way that a company can program to meet everyone’s needs or wants.  The more you use software the more you become ok with that.  In fact, as soon as we (Software Company) make a decision and choose a direction we know for certain that some will like it, some will love it, and some will hate it and think that we are idiots because we did it that way.  This gets back to a former blog I did about the Parato Principal, better known as the 80/20 rule.  Most software companies create products that meet 80% of the customer’s needs within their specific market.  Perhaps if you never find what you are looking for in software you need to adjust your expectations. 

Similar to prospects and customers having certain expectations of us as a company, we also have certain expectations of you as a prospective customer. 

To be fair, here are a few call scheduling software Vendor myths that I can dispel;

  1. We don’t like it when you tell us that our software sucks.
  2. We don’t like it when you don't do your homework.
  3. Our trainers have no clue how people create, maintain and publish a call schedule.
  4. We don’t like being stood-up for demos and training.
  5. Sometimes "why something works the way it does" is just because it does.
  6. Our trainers have others scheduled after you, so we cannot do it all at once.
  7. We don’t like being called on a Sunday night because you forgot your password and you don’t want to call your scheduler to bother them.
  8. We don’t like it when customers lack of planning become our emergencies.
  9. We don’t like when our software is blamed for your organizations dysfunction.
  10. We don’t like it when you don't pay your bill and we have to call and ask for it.

I think there are a few takeaways from this blog post. 

First, it is important to be realistic and reasonable with your expectations.  Also remember that expectations change and you must communicate your changes if you wish to be satisfied.  And lastly, remember that if you expect your expectations to be meet, others do as well, this should be a two-way street.  You can have everything you want, just not all at once.

Topics: software for scheduling physicians, on-call software, physician scheduling software, doctor scheduling software, adopting on-call software

5 Disastrous Misconceptions about On-call Software

Posted by Justin Wampach on Thu, Dec 01, 2011 @ 02:48 PM

misconceptionI think it is helpful when everyone is on the same page.  Most of the time when my expectations were not meet in the past was because I made incorrect assumptions.  I thought I might be able to clear-up some misconceptions before you start looking for physician scheduling software.

Misconception #1.  Software should be free or low cost and have all the features.  This misconception comes from some in the software industry who have developed great software for free.  The cost of software comes from client focused development; bug fixing/testing, integration, training and support, and sales and marketing.  Although few customers want to pay for sales and marketing expenses, everyone wants support/training and new features along with a product that is free of bugs.  As you know, this takes money.  You should want your vendor partners to make money so that they can continue to offer you good products and great service.  This cannot be done for free (at least for too long)

Misconception #2.  Oncall software will replicate our current paper/Excel process.  If you use Excel to create your doctors call schedule, I'm sure that you have noticed that you can put anything in any "cell" that you want.  You can break your rules and preferences; you can create a schedule one day-at-a time.  Although many things are possible, it does not always mean that you should.  Creating a call schedule using call scheduling software is different than with Excel.  Do not try to force your current process into a new system.  Be open to change.  Think about what you want to accomplish and why as opposed to focusing on why the software is doing a certain thing.  Excel is predictable; most on-call software was designed not to be, in order to create a better, schedule.

Misconception #3.  Software will save you time right out of the gate.  Let’s be real here.  Everything takes time to set-up and configure as well as master.  When you have mastered the software, most any software, it will save you time.

Misconception #4.  You don't need any training.  In order to be a ninja master, you need training.  How much training depends on your comfort level with using software in general.  People who do not get proper training on how to use software always blame the software when they cannot accomplish what they want to do.  Non-trained users are usually the first to jump ship.  If you are not committed enough to schedule and attend training, then your problem is probably not significant enough to warrant the purchase.  In other words, if you don't want training, save your money on the software!

Misconception #5.  Our rules and process are probably too complicated for a software system.  This is sometimes accurate.  Some medical groups are very complex.  For example a group of 25 Cardiologists with 50 jobs at 10 locations.  This is pretty complex.  What is important here is to understand that nothing will solve all of your needs.  Nothing is 100 push-button and if it was you probable would not want to pay the fees.  What you should be looking at is a prioritization of what is important (most to least).  Also what is important to your Doctors, sometimes software is not going to save the scheduler time at all, but it will assist in communication of the call information to the providers.   Remember what is important.  If you don't know, you should not be looking.

With the proper expectations of what physician scheduling software can and will do, along with a clear need and established budget range is a great place for any shopper to start.

Click me

Topics: software for scheduling physicians, physician scheduling, on-call software, physician scheduling software, doctor scheduling software, adopting on-call software, on call schedule, call scheduling

When hospitals and clinics don't play nice about oncall scheduling

Posted by Justin Wampach on Fri, Nov 04, 2011 @ 01:51 PM

cooperationWhen hospitals and clinics don't play nice who wins?  I’m not sure, but I do know it's not the patient.  I was working with a few current clients who are part of the same medical community.  The community hospital (who is part of a large system) purchased an on-call management system (Call Communicator) from us to help eliminate their on-call communication problems better known as the "wrong doctor getting called" or unclear information regarding who is oncall.  This hospital made the decision to purchase a version of Call Scheduler for each medical clinic in the entire community.  The hospital also agreed to pay any ongoing maintenance fees.  In my opinion the hospital moved forward on this initiative for the following reasons;

  1. Increase physician satisfaction by making sure the wrong doctors are not called.
  2. Increase patient care by reducing the time it takes ED and Telecom staff to identify and locate the correct on-call doctor.
  3. Reduce the risk of an EMTALA fine by having the proper on-call documentation.
  4. Increase employee satisfaction by not getting yelled at if the wrong doctors are called.
  5. Putting the responsibility of call schedule accuracy in the hands of the call schedule owners (the clinics).

Out of 20 clinics within the community there are several who have refused to participate in this free program and will not use the provided software to maintain their own schedules.  They have basically said to the hospital, screw you or in Minnesota-nice "go fly a kite".  What this means is that the hospital now has to make exceptions for a few organizations because they do not want to make any waves. 

In another example we have a hospital that has sent out several meeting requests and asked all of the schedulers from each clinic to join them at the hospital for a 1 hour free refresher on "maintaining your on-call schedule".  Not only did several of the groups just not show up, but I heard from one of the doctors at one of the groups say "when our administrator gets those things she just throws them away".  WHAT?

Now clearly I have frustrations because as a company we are trying to help hospitals and clinics formalize a new way of communicating oncall.  I have a personal stake in the success of these programs.  But let’s think about it from another point of view, how does the patient benefit from the clinics not getting along with the hospital?  They don't.  I think that as professionals these organizations need to grow up and start thinking about the patients instead of the "old things" that have put up walls between organizations.

In my world when a clinic refuses to cooperate with a hospital implementing a new oncall management system it says that "when our patients present at your hospital we don't care how long you or they have to wait to track down the correct doctor.  I think that is just plain wrong.  That is poor business, poor customer service and just plain selfish.  When hospitals and clinics don’t play nice about oncall scheduling, the patient is the one that looses.

Topics: on-call software, doctor scheduling software, call scheduling

The on call schedule is more than just a calendar

Posted by Justin Wampach on Fri, Oct 28, 2011 @ 04:07 PM

passionWhen I began my career at Adjuvant several years ago I needed to find my passion for the industry.  How the hell do you find passion for creating, maintaining and publishing call schedules?  I will be honest, it took me a while.

I was constantly asking myself the question, why on-call, why physician scheduling, why work with doctors in the first place?  That is a good question, most of them are almost impossible to get ahold of, very close with their money, and are not the quickest decision makers.

Still looking for passion, I first centered  around creating good software, after all we are a software company, right?  I also developed passion for running a good business, after all I am a business man, right? And then I started talking to not only current customers of ours, but more importantly new prospects who were sharing stories about "why" they were calling us.

Would you believe me if I told you that the physician oncall schedule is one of the most important schedules with the clinic and the hospital. Here's why;

  1. How can you schedule staff and patients until you know where the Doctor is or is not?
  2. Why would you need support services like xray and lab if there is not a Doctor available to see patients?
  3. Who is needed most in the Emergency Department at every hospital in the US?
  4. Who is needed the most during a complicated delivery or procedure?

Inside of every square in an on-call calendar there is a persons name.  That name represents a trained medical doctor who will drop everything and come and help you when they are called.  Some of them will be so busy with calls that they will sleep at the hospital until they are releaved. This is the person that is going to help my family member when they show up at 3:00 in the morning at my local hospital with chest pains or after a car accident.

On-call doctors and professionals are unsung heros and deserve to be treated that way.  This is where I found my passion.  I realized that our company dosen't just make software or try to convince doctors to become more efficient with thier time, our software makes sure that when you need them the most, the doctor is there, no matter what day or time.  We help professionals save lives. 

I am certain that there have been instances, especially with our OB/Gyn clients when the information in our system allowed for a process to be expidited.  This is when the difference between 1 and 5 minutes could be the difference between life and death.  We helped!

The on-call schedule is more than just a calendar, it is some of the most valuable and useful information that a hospital and clinic have.  If you are the person that creates, maintains and publishes doctors call schedules, please remember how important your job is.  If you are a physician who is taking call assignments, please know that we take our job and yours very seriously and will continue to do whatever we can to make sure that you are in the right place at the right time.  Ooh and by-the-way, Thank you!

Click me

Topics: software for scheduling physicians, physician scheduling, on-call software, physician scheduling software, doctor scheduling software, on call schedule, call scheduling

Think Pareto Principal when looking at oncall scheduling software

Posted by Justin Wampach on Thu, Oct 20, 2011 @ 11:05 AM

ParetoDoes everything have to be perfect?  When is good enough, good enough?  The Pareto Principle, or 80-20 rule as it's also known, is based on the observation that, in life, the minority of causes, inputs or efforts produce the majority of effects, results, or rewards.

In 1906 an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, discovered that 20% of the Italian population owned 80% of the nation’s wealth. Further studies revealed that The Pareto Principle, as it became known, affects us all in every aspect of life.

This has real value in every aspect of your life and work. If you can identify which efforts get the best results, you can apply your time and focus far more effectively.

In other words, you do more of what actually matters, as the time management matrix explains.

For example…

  • 20% of your tasks produce 80% of your results.
  • 20% of a meeting gives you 80% of the information.
  • 20% of your contribution produces 80% of the recognition you get.
  • 20% of clients create 80% of your sales.
  • 20% of the clothes in your wardrobe are worn 80% of the time!

Focus on the vital few.  Think about it in terms of productivity.  If someone offered you a tool today and told you that it would solve 80% of your problems wouldn’t you be excited?  I sure as hell would.  I have found in my 15 years of running businesses that 100% is nearly unachievable unless you have an unlimited budget. 20% of software features will generally give you 80% of your results.

As I talk with prospects daily many of them are looking to solve 100% of their problem.  Do you think most people know what 100% of their problem looks like?  Some think they do, for example, if you are a book keeper, you probably know what a complete accounting solution looks like, why, because it is mostly the same for each book keepers.  Everyone wants an AR and AP tool.  Everyone needs balance sheet and P&L reports.  Everyone needs to export certain information for taxes.  But does everyone need payroll, or credit card processing or SEC reporting tools?  Probably not.  Out of the box (without any customization) most accounting software will cover the basics and either offer customization additional modules for sale for added features.

If we look at the 80/20 principal in terms of scheduling doctors I would highly suggest that anyone that is using Excel or even better if you are still creating your schedule by hand think about what is important to you.  Time off requests, tallies, rules would probably cover 80% of schedule creation, maintenance and publishing.  If you are willing to "start here" you will not only save a tremendous amount of time, but you will be focusing on what is important.

Here is an example.  10 Doctor group that specializes in Cardiology.  The scheduler is currently a physician that creates the calendar by hand using Excel.  Call Scheduler Lite (shameless plug) as well as Amion has a solution that begins at $249.00 per year.  It does not get any less expensive than that.  A solution such as the above mentioned will give you many tools specific to scheduling that Excel will not.  I was talking to this physician and his biggest concern was "how the schedule printed".  Now keep in mind that at least our company is "web-based" so although we allow, we do not encourage printing of the schedule.  A printed schedule is an out-of-date schedule.  An out-of-date schedule increases the likelihood that the wrong physician gets called.  Now granted we allow printing, this person wanted it printed a certain way, his way.  Digging in your heals on a particular feature is very short sighted in my opinion.  At least 80% of our and our competitor’s features would have been a good fit for this group.  The price was a no-brainer for a Cardiologist.  But, this doctor could not see the sky through the clouds.

I tell you this story because in my opinion as a corporate leader, this way of thinking is not in the best interest of the organization or its stakeholders.  Do you think that the other 9 providers in the above mentioned Cardiology group would have staged a mass revolt if the printed schedule was one way versus another?  Maybe, but maybe not if they saw the other major benefits of using software to create a physician schedule.  I think 80% of the group would have been fine with the change.  This prospect could have used the software and 20% of the features that we have would have given him 80% of the schedule.  That is much better than Excel.

Now granted, as a standard exclaimer, I am talking about the software industry.  There are many things where 80% is not enough.  For example tire pressure, glass window coverage, dental work, CPR, sex.  But again please remember that we are talking about software.  Remember 20% is going to be used most.

If you are looking for 100% satisfaction regarding feature set, my only advice to you is to get real.  In software it is too expensive and not realistic. Think about the top 3 things you want to accomplish and start there.

Topics: software for scheduling physicians, physician scheduling, on-call software, physician scheduling software, doctor scheduling software, adopting on-call software, on call scheduler, call scheduling

How Steve Jobs influenced me, Adjuvant and Call Scheduling

Posted by Justin Wampach on Thu, Oct 06, 2011 @ 11:13 AM

describe the image

The big news in the US today is the death of Apple co-founder and Technology God Steve Jobs at the young age of 56. 

My first experience with an apple computer was in 1983, I was about 11 when my dad won a $5,000 gift certificate to a local retail giant.  Everyone was able to pick out what they wanted.  I wanted a computer.  I wanted an Apple IIe.  This was when my geek-dom began.  I remember playing games, using a few applications that were loaded on large hand size floppy disks.  I was one of the only kids in my entire school with my own computer.

Several years later in 1988 I purchased one of the first Macintosh Computers.  It was considered portable back in the day.  That meant that it came with a soft-sided carrying case similar to the ones you see "pizza guys" carrying today.  I used to pack it up and bring it over to friend's houses to show-off. When I first started college I upgraded to a Mac 660av.  This machine had Bose speakers in the color 17" monitor.  WOW.

In 1992 when I was in college I purchased my first laptop, a mono-chrome PowerBook.  I think it was around $2500.  They were only available in gray-scale, no color yet.  This laptop had a modem inside of it which allowed me to connect to American online and some local chat rooms.  As a student I worked at the University troubleshooting Apple products that professors had in their offices.

After college my first job was at the University in the computer services office where I had the opportunity to learn and use the Macintosh as a graphic design tool.  I learned Quark Xpress, Illustrator, and Photoshop just to name a few.  I was becoming a true Mac-head. 

My next job was at a large Apple reseller to K-12 in the upper Midwest.  It was at this company that I really learned everything I know today about Macs.  I was also lucky enough to play with all of the new toys as they came out.  Toys like scanners, Apple Quick-take camera, Newton, and the color laser writer.  In the mid 90's these were cutting edge toys. 

I was such a Geek that I even purchased several NeXT computers, which were made by Steve Jobs during his time when he was fired from Apple. There was a time in our community when I was known as one of the best Mac guys around.

The first company that I started used all Macintosh computers and Apple servers to host the websites that we developed for customers.  We remained a Mac shop until we "converted to the dark side" as we grew and needed to interface with other systems.

There was a period between 1998 and 2002 when I did not own a single Apple product.  All of that changed when the IPod was released.  Since then I have jumped back on the bandwagon with a IPod, Power book and IPad all under the Apple brand.

Here are a few of the things that I learned from Apple:

  1. Innovate, not follow. 
  2. Its ok to be ahead of your time (Newton, Quicktake camera)
  3. Build beautiful things
  4. Build things that are easy to use
  5. Have passion
  6. Stock-pile cash

Here are ways that Apple has influenced me: 

  1. Apple made me interested in technology. 
  2. Apple drew me to use and understand software. 
  3. Apple allowed me to realize that I could do anything with a computer.
  4. Apple gave me something to be great at.
  5. Apple introduced me to one of my longest and best team members (Amy was buying a computer at the University where I worked)

There are many things that would not be today if it were not for Apple computer and Steve Jobs.  Call Scheduler may be one of them.   I thank him for everything that he has done for the technology world and think that we live in a better place because of him.  RIP Steve Jobs.

Topics: Steve Jobs, Apple Computer, on-call software, doctor scheduling software, on call scheduler, call scheduling