Marshfield Clinic-Information Systems Dept.
Marshfield Clinic

Information Systems(IS) Dept.

"Computer Room" 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 backups.

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.

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 shredder!).

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 utilization.

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 with.

MORE "networking"...notice the pink-colored, encased, cabling(CAT-5 network cables?).

More networking...

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 maze!

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 Department.

More networking within the "main computer room" of the "old" IT Department.

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.

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