Marshfield Clinic-Information Systems Dept.
Area: Circa 1991-1998
Here is the Marshfield Medical Center complex, in Marshfield,
WI. Marshfield Clinic, where I was employed, is shown on the
left side of the photo. Ministry-St. Joseph's Hospital is
shown on the right.
Here is the "nerve center" from which I, and
the other computer operators, worked. Note the
wall-to-wall monitors(and computers). From these screens,
we would observe and monitor, 24 hours a day, the functioning of
all of the servers, and the mainframe computer itself.
Note the control boxes, for the halon "fire protection system",
near the upper right-hand side of the wall.
Here are the "drive units" used to hold the
data cartridges that were used for backing up all of the data
files for the clinic. We could load several cartridges at
a time to each tape unit("drive"). As each cartridge was
filled, it would automatically eject the cartridge, and feed in
the next cartridge.
This is a PARTIAL view of the massive "data
cartridge library" that we had, for holding all of the data from
the clinic. We used to use a cart, on wheels, to hold the
cartridges that we "pulled" for erasing, and re-use, each
day. Each cartridge was numbered. A co-worker
developed a program(using "Visual BASIC"?) that we would run
once each day, that kept track of the retention period of each
backup we did, and would generate a list of the data cartridges
to be "pulled". Another program, developed by the
same co-worker, we would run once a week, to generate removable
labels that could be applied to the data cartridges, to tell us
about the contents of each cartridge, including the date of the
backup, the contents, etc.
The clinic did retain a few of the
older-style magnetic tape drives, as some of the insurance
companies we dealt with, as well as some government agencies,
still used tape to send us information on, so we needed the tape
drives in order to be able to read the data into our system, and
write data back out again for those companies and agencies.
There were two of these large Xerox-brand
laser printers for printing out all of the clinic's appointment
letters & reminders, radiology and lab reports, customer
statements and Security Health Plan billings, etc. The
"input" trays are shown in the LOWER right-hand side of this
picture, and the "output" trays are shown in the UPPER
right-hand side of the photo. You could fill AT LEAST a
case of paper(or other blank forms) in each of the two
printers! One computer operator, on the night shift, would
be kept busy all night just printing all of the forms that would
be needed for the next business day. A second computer
operator would be busy keeping up with the data cartridge
This was one of my suggestions to make it easier, and to
streamline, the process of distributing the papers
nightly(daily). Sections of metal shelving were set up,
end-to-end, along a wooden shelf. Each person who received
a printout of some kind on a daily basis had their own shelf,
and each shelf divider had a clear plastic, self-adhesive
nameplate affixed to it, so we could just slide the name of that
person into the nameplate. The names were arranged in
alphabetic order, by last name, and we left some space for
adding or removing names. Each "satellite clinic" also had
it's own shelf, arranged down near the bottom row of
shelves. Since the shelves were of metal construction, we
also used small magnetic strips to insert labels containing
additional directions(printed in red) for the distribution of
certain particular reports. In the morning, after the
nightly printing was done, we would "bag up" the reports for
each person(or department), in clear plastic "pouches", for the
mail room to then deliver.
To Muzikman's Background
The clinic also uses a certain number of special forms, such as
"pull tickets"(a sort of name tag), etc., and for those, we
still needed(and used) a "line printer", shown above.
Two other useful pieces of equipment, used as part of the
"printing process". In the foreground is a "burster", used
to separate pin-fed, continuous-feed type forms, such as pull
tickets(used by the medical records department), after they were
printed. In the background is an "industrial-strength"
shredder, used to grind up(i.e. shred) old papers, including
computer printer forms, before disposing of them.
Obviously, being a medical facility, patient confidentiality was
important, so we needed to shred certain no longer needed
papers(notice the large plastic trash bag in the back of the
When you work overnight, things get a little strange about 3 or
4 in the morning(AM), and a person tends to do
some strange things! So, early one morning, I'm standing
there shredding a HUGE pile of old computer reports, and papers,
and got to thinking, "I wonder just how 'heavy-duty' this paper
shredder really is?". So I proceeded to pull out a
quarter, and ran it through the shredder! BOOM!, it was
gone(disintegrated)! That wasn't enough to satisfy my
curiosity, and, earlier in the evening, my co-worker and I had
gone down to the hospital cafeteria to find something to eat,
and we still had the trays, and silverware, from our
meals. So, I got to thinking, "Hey, what about this metal
fork?". So, I fed it into the shredder and, BOOM!, it was
gone(disintegrated)! So, now I know: An "industrial-strength"
shredder CAN handle some smaller metal objects!
Not pictured above was another one
of my suggestions/ideas for the computer room
area. The clinic used a multitude of printer forms in
the course of a day(and evening): lab report forms,
blank checks, statement forms, etc., etc. All of these
forms took up space in the computer room, and we only had so
much space available for storing those forms, so we would end
up having to have those forms continuously brought to our
department, so that we wouldn't be running out of them all the
time. So, I came up with the idea of having some
heavy-duty type shelving brought into the computer room
to store those forms on. It was shelving which utilized
the space ABOVE the floor, for holding additional forms.
We used a small type of step-stool to get the forms down to
floor level. It effectively DOUBLED our space
Here is a "bird's-eye" view of a room adjacent to the
"printing" room, which shows a portion of the network at the
clinic, including the data cartridge drives area and part
of the data cartridge storage library.
Another shot of the "network" room...
I believe what we had here was a "bank" of optical
drives(either CD's or DVD's) that medical personnel, including
doctors, could access, via one of the file servers, to do
medical research with.
Yet ANOTHER shot of the "network" room...(LOTS
of file servers!)
Still ANOTHER shot of the "network" room. Notice
the cabling off to the right of this photo. Also, the bank
of modems that were used for remote satellite clinic branches,
and some of our clients and customers, to dial into the network
MORE "networking"...notice the pink-colored, encased, cabling(CAT-5
Here is what I like to refer to as the "main computer room" of
the "old" IT Department! A very heavily climate-controlled
room, where the Amdahl-brand mainframe commputer
"resided". The lights were kept "subdued" in this room,
and, walking through it, you felt like a rat going through a
If I recall correctly, this "box" was referred to as("named")
DGLAB, and used for communication with the computers in the
JVL(Joint Venture Lab). The JVL was the lab jointly shared
by the clinic and the hospital(after all, the clinic and the
hospital stand side-by-side).
Some networking within the "main computer room" of the "old" IT
More networking within the "main computer room" of the "old" IT
One of the massive, industrial-strength cooling(air
conditioning) units used in the "main computer room". Note
the "nozzles" located in the ceiling above(part of the Halon
fire protection system). Also note the large floor fan
located in the right-hand side of this photo. Fans were
used in the rare instance of an air conditioning unit failure,
or, during times of maintenance work on a unit, when it would
need to be shut down temporarily. Believe it or not, it
wouldn't take long for this room to "heat up" with one of these
units turned off!
A PART of the UPS(Uninterruptable Power Supply) system, kept in
an adjacent room, and used to provide for emergency power for
the computers and the network.