Scan Artist

Today more than ever, standing still is not an option

“I’m gonna need access to a printer,” I told my nephew, Andrew.

“Boarding passes?” he accurately presumed. “Just use your phone. It’s easy.”

“I’d prefer not to. My phone isn’t always reliable.”

“I will not enable your intransigence.”

Thus shamed, I went to my email, downloaded the boarding passes to my phone, and copied the QR code to my photo gallery, yielding to a man who is Brookstone to my SEARS. (Central to Andrew’s home is a turntable worth thousands of dollars and a Sous Vide machine — you can look it up — that admittedly produces the juiciest, best burgers of all time. One day soon, he will own a massage chair.)

In the morning, I would fly home from my hometown of Minneapolis, where I had spent a few days visiting my brothers and Andrew and his brothers. Together, we took in a concert performed by Bob Dylan — that is, the latest Bob Dylan — across the river in St. Paul.

Businesses could learn a lot from Dylan, who has never exhausted his capacity for reinventing himself. Among the stages in a business’s life — start-up, growth, maturity, decline — Dylan is forever alternating between stages 1 and 2 and, at 76, he soldiers on.

He’s a crooner now, as you may have heard, covering songs popularized by Old Blue Eyes. His band’s instrumentation, these days, includes a bass fiddle, a pedal steel guitar and a violin that combine to produce a haunting sound as Dylan, eerily slow-dancing with a standing microphone, coughs up:


Once upon a time

A girl with moonlight in her eyes

Put her hand in mine

And said she loved me so,

But that was once upon a time,

Very long ago.


Another Bob, unlike the last Bob, and then I found direction home.

So it was that a few days after returning to Tallahassee, I visited Capital Regional Medical Center where President/CEO Mark Robinson and members of his management team introduced me and the boss man, Brian Rowland, to technologies and applications that have CRMC billing itself as a “Hospital of the Future.” (The same applications have been introduced to another member of the HCA family, Gulf Coast Hospital in Panama City.)

We learned that wheelchairs are electronically tagged so that, with a quick check of an iPhone, staff can immediately discover where an idle chair may be located. (I said then and I will say now that such technology should be applied to luggage carts at hotels.) Also, Robinson has access to a dashboard that tells him how many patients are in the Emergency Room at any moment and for how long they have been there. If Robinson finds that a patient has been languishing in ER for an hour, he is likely to investigate.

I respect the factors that are driving the innovations and rendering clipboards so once upon a time. They include a quest for increased accuracy, accountability, efficiency and patient safety and for an improved patient experience. And it seems that the technological advancements are not coming at the expense of the personalization of care.

Now, I will get personal with, well, a confession.

At the airport in Minneapolis, when I checked in my bag and paid my $25, the kiosk afforded me an opportunity to print my boarding passes, and I did. And, when actually boarding, the woman in front of me couldn’t get her phone to scan and was pulled out of line. I felt so validated.

But, Andrew, last night when my wife and I went to the movies, I bought my tickets online and, at the theater, walked past all the losers in line at the ticket window, went directly to the ticket taker, whipped out my phone and was in like Flynn.

Small steps.


Steve Bornhoft

Categories: Opinion