Meet Quality Assurance Engineer Ed Otero

Ed Otero - Tel-Tron Quality Assurance Engineer.

Tel-Tron is constantly developing and delivering new and improved products to help senior living companies and the seniors they serve. An extremely important part of the product development process is ensuring the design meets Tel-Tron’s high standard for quality.

Ed Otero is Tel-Tron’s Quality Assurance Engineer, responsible for final testing and validation of new and existing product designs before they become actual products. Ed has been working with healthcare technology since 1986, involved in installing, maintaining, and testing of systems within hospitals and residential communities.

“I have always kept in the front of my mind that any and all products I touch could at any point in time be used to save someone’s life. This is the reason I have always taken extra care and pride in making sure that what I work on is tested and retested.”

Ed understands the negative impact a product defect can have on community operations and seniors’ lives. “I have always kept in the front of my mind that any and all products I touch could at any point in time be used to save someone’s life,” says Ed. “This is the reason I have always taken extra care and pride in making sure that what I work on is tested and retested.” 

Ed works diligently testing a Tel-Tron wireless transmitter

Ed works diligently at testing a Tel-Tron wireless transmitter

During the testing process, no product is released until it has passed every single test from start-to-finish and the product development team, including Ed, is satisfied that the product is worthy of release. “The tests are numerous and repetitive, and we push our products to the max to ensure that we are delivering only quality products,” Ed says. “I’m very proud to be a member of the Tel-Tron team and knowing that I am doing my part ensuring that every product that touches my hands or goes out the door could be responsible for saving someone’s life.”

ALFA 2012: Sharing Inspiring Stories of Dignity and Respect in Aging

Sharing Inspiring Stories of Dignity  and Respect in Aging

ALFA does a superb job at bringing important senior living issues to the forefront, but none may be as touching or as relevant to the purpose of what we do each day as the topic of lifestyle. Yes, there are many issues operators face such as staff development, real estate, regulations, and such.  However, those topics deal with the business side of things and that’s not why many of us got into this line of work.

At the recent ALFA Community 2012 event in Dallas, a number of sessions focused on dignity and respect, such as the session on “what senior living residents want”. During this session, eight seniors and adult children talked about what senior living life is like from the first day the resident and family starts researching communities, to daily life after the resident is settled in. One resident panelist, speaking about his initial community tour said it best: “It’s almost like it wasn’t a business. It was like she was inviting us into her home.” Powerful.

I love the annual Short Film competition held at the ALFA conference each year. Great tools for evangelizing this topic of dignity and respect result from the contest. This year’s winning entry was just as powerful and moving as last year’s. “Life is a Ball” helps explain that every person has a rich life story – and a reminder that the seniors in our communities are people, and not just an ADL checklist task or a head in the census. Last year’s winning entry, “Mind the Gap”, is a great story for younger caregivers and employees to watch in an effort to get the message across that many seniors have the same ageism issues that many younger people do and that we all need to take an active role in overcoming prejudices and stereotypes.

I invite you to share these stories of dignity and respect with your fellow employees via email or at your next staff meeting.

Thinking “Outside-In”: A Market-Driven Approach To Product Development

One of the joys of working for a technology company that designs and manufactures all of its own products, is that the bounds for solving real market problems are almost limitless. That’s not a new experience for me personally, but in its market space, Tel-Tron is the only company that designs, manufactures, installs, and supports all of its own products. In my opinion, that’s very powerful. It’s powerful for many reasons, but in particular it gives us a unique ability to take an “outside-in” approach to product development (http://www.pragmaticmarketing.com/secrets/the-difference-is-outside). It also gives us the ability to adapt and customize quickly ways that are unmatched in the industry.

One example of Tel-Tron taking this “outside-in” approach was the recent addition of our “Staff Rounds Check” feature (http://www.tel-tron.com/resident-staff-checkin.php). Within independent and low-acuity assisted living, Resident Check-In – whereby a resident presses a button in their room each day to indicate that they are up and okay – works because caregivers don’t necessarily need to eyeball each resident every day. However, customers of our emergency call system products were telling us that Resident Check-In wouldn’t work in higher-acuity senior living, such as memory care, because the residents either could not remember to press a button each day or were too immobile to reliably get to the check-in button. In addition, residents with these higher-acuity needs often need to be checked on by staff more than just once a day. And thus “Staff Rounds Check” was born.

Now, managers could rest assured that higher-acuity residents would be checked on by caregivers multiple times a day, with reportable accountability (http://www.tel-tron.com/auditrak.php). And because of our inherent flexibility, not only are the intervals configurable, but should a caregiver not check-in on a resident as scheduled, exception reporting can be enabled to trigger a reminder-style alert (http://www.tel-tron.com/cisco-phone-radio-paging-mobile.php). Put that in your marketing pitch and watch residents’ family members breathe a sigh of relief!

But our “outside-in” approach didn’t stop there. It takes one particular skill set to listen to your customers’ business problems and develop technologies to solve those problems, but it’s completely another skill set to have the forethought, flexibility, and ability to “tune-in” to your market  in order to solve future problems with that same technology. That happened while working with a campus-style community where we were able to evolve the “Staff Rounds Check” feature and place special check-in stations strategically around the community, in order for the roaming security officers to verify that they were making their appointed rounds. Now, managers could be assured the proper security rounds around the campus were being made and that residents were safe.

As the company product manager, I am the champion of market-driven product design and this “outside-in” thinking. I’ll be blogging on a number of product and market topics, but none are more important to me than the ones illustrating “outside-in” thinking. I’m looking forward to sharing and interacting with our readers on this and many others topics.

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