Mark Heston: If You See It—Buy It

“If you see it—buy it!”

Have you heard this phrase before? In my mind, it has nothing to do with Amazon or eBay. I worked with a peer who used this phrase a lot. After grasping his intent, I’ve lived my professional and personal life using this mantra.

To me, it means that if you’re performing a task, you should own it. Make it your own. Let your peers, patients and families know that you own it. Take pride in what you do. Don’t procrastinate, as you may only get one opportunity. Don’t miss an opportunity to make an impact.

This week I witnessed “see it—buy it” in action. I was walking down a hospital hallway with Elias, one of my peers. Elias noticed a family that appeared to be lost and confused. He stopped, spoke with them in their native language, and discovered they could not find their way back to where they parked.

It would have been easy for Elias to say, “Take this hallway to the end, take a left, take the elevator to level two …” you get the idea. Instead, he put the family at ease and personally escorted them through the hospital maze right out to their car. You could see the stress roll off their faces as they recognized where they were. The whole episode completed in less than 10 minutes. Elias practiced “see it—buy it” it at that very moment. He owned the entire encounter and was happy to assist.

As healthcare technology management professionals, we are often asked to look at something that we normally don’t see or are even responsible for. I ask the staff I work with to take a moment and look at what is occurring. More than likely, we are being asked to help because we’ve previously reached in a positive manner. We didn’t say, “That’s not my job.”

By practicing “see it—buy it,” not only will you make yourself invaluable and assist a fellow caregiver, I propose that you will feel happier and more satisfied as an employee, friend, and family member. There is something internal that really clicks for me when I “buy it.”

What do you think about this view?

Mark Heston, MS, CBET, CHTM, is director of HTM at Children’s Hospital Colorado, founder of MON Healthcare Technology Consultants, and a member of AAMI’s Technology Management Council.

3 thoughts on “Mark Heston: If You See It—Buy It

  1. There is engagement, and then there is “dumping.”
    Having been in this field for *mumble* decades, I often see other parts of Maintenance / Engineering / Safety / IT / Infection-Control / Etc, who are too-lazy or unmotivated to attempt anything remotely new or different, and say: “I don’t know how to do that, therefore it’s not mine. It must belong to Biomed!”

    In my career, I have been informed that we should take care of:
    Automatic-sensor-flush toilets
    Whirlpool tubs with a digital temp-sensor on them
    Tables that were supporting a piece of Medical equipment (both wood and steel)
    Water-quality testing for hospital potable water
    Therapy swimming pools (Pumps/filters/plumbing)
    Cash Register networking cables
    OTS Software for patient information management
    …and the list goes on and on.

    I *CAN* do all of those things….but it is a Supervisor’s (or Manager’s) responsibility to protect their Biomed techs from that sort of abuse (and often from themselves; most Biomeds I have met really do have a “Can-Do” attitude…and will jump in and do other Departments’ jobs, just to help the customer.

    If your facility will fund you an additional 100% of your Biomed FTEs, then maybe that can work.
    I’ve never seen a Front Office that would, however.

  2. Mark,

    This is exactly the type of engagement we try to practice at our facility. This is a great way to rise up the entire group by small acts and large acts. Owning a situation is everything when it comes to what we do in our jobs and in our lifes. Acts like picking up a piece to trash on the floor of our hospital to helping a family find their way the their car actually will cross over to when big stuff happens in our personal lifes as well.

    Well written and times post for the start of the year…

    Don Armstrong, CBET, CHTM
    Stanford Health Care

  3. As a patient/visitor I have experienced the kind of interaction described and agree that it can be a great stress reliever and also deliver the message that the people here care about me. While the hospital setting is the daily domain of the people that work there, it is unfamiliar territory to many of the “customers”, and perhaps scary as well. Everyone should do their part to provide whatever help and reassurance they can.

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