EBME Forums
Posted By: Steve Webb SEMS software - 27/07/00 10:32 AM
Any comments from users of the SEMS equipment management software (from Imperial Business Systems, Bristol), in particular with the newer Windows-style front-end? We like it but it's more expensive than competitors' - is it worth it?!
Posted By: Huw Re: SEMS software - 27/07/00 1:35 PM
aaaarrrgh! SEMS - I still wake up having nightmares when I think about it. I used to use the old Unix version. Still it was *NOT* user friendly. Who in the history of computing ever used 'E' for enter and not the 'return' key?
Can't comment on the Windows version, sorry
Posted By: John Sandham Re: SEMS software - 29/08/00 5:08 PM
Try Barnet General Hospital or Chase Farm Hospital. Their EBME Depts have been using SEMS for years. I had experience of the old version and found it cumbersome, I like HECS better.
Posted By: Roy Re: SEMS software - 30/08/00 4:15 PM
Isn't HECS a bit too American ? There seems to be quite a bit in there which isn't relevant in the NHS.
Has anyone any costings for implementing a new software package ? I know it's not just the purchase of the software - but how much will it REALLY cost ?
Posted By: Julian Re: SEMS software - 03/10/00 5:23 PM
I try and use SEMS but it can be a real pain in the ****
Posted By: Huw Re: SEMS software - 03/10/00 6:43 PM
Out of interest, did you actually type something under those asterisks or did my naughty word filter cut in?
Posted By: Steve Webb Re: SEMS software - 04/10/00 7:59 AM
Julian, is it the Windows version you're using or the old DOS one? If Windows, what is the main pain-in-the-**** ?!
Do you use the equip library & browser modules?
Posted By: Tony Re: SEMS software - 17/10/00 8:51 PM
We,ve had SEMS since 1994, and most of the staff that use it on a day to day basis do not rate it highly at all. (I'm being polite)

It's very unintutative, and cumbersome to use. It's not to bad when searching for data, but the same definetly cannot be said for data entry routines, so it's the old garbage in - garbage out problem.

There are too many mandatory field, and not a lot of flexibility.

We've recently evaluated the "new" SEMS, and discovered that it's not very new at all. It now has a very basic windows functionality, but there have been very few improvements in the functionlaity of the system.

All of the old problems that we've come to know, and had to get used to, over the years remain in this new version.

My view is that software that's now being sold should, at least, have a modern, intuitive feel to it. SEMS has stuck with the old "dossy" screen format for reasons which escape me.

After a thorough evalustion process we are about to purchase Agilent tecdhnology's OPTIM for our new job management system.
Posted By: Tony Re: SEMS software - 17/10/00 8:55 PM
Sorry about the spilling mistookes on the previous entry. I thought one error worth correcting was my use of the word "flexible", obviously this should have been "inflexible"
Posted By: Huw Re: SEMS software - 17/10/00 9:22 PM
Hey Tony
I think that everybody that reads/ writes forums understands typos!
Nobody (politely) notices.
I completely agree with your opinion of the the SEMS interface - as much as I dislike Window$ - Bill has given the world an easy to use system. Damn - even Linux runs xwindows interfaces that are obviously based on a 'popular' OS!!! Still Linux now is reputed to have nearly 20million users.... There may still be hope...
Posted By: Steve Webb Re: SEMS software - 20/10/00 2:53 PM
Tony, thanks for the honest comments. We rated Agilent's 'Optim' quite highly too. Any 'Optim' users out there with comments; , or ? Cheers.
Posted By: Simon Whitehead Re: SEMS software - 20/10/00 9:16 PM
Give the chief tech at Hemel Hempstead a call. His department is the development site for Optim. He rates it highly too. We are developing our own from ACCESS
Originally posted by Steve Webb:
Tony, thanks for the honest comments. We rated Agilent's 'Optim' quite highly too. Any 'Optim' users out there with comments; , or ? Cheers.
Posted By: Steve Webb Re: SEMS software - 23/10/00 12:31 PM
Yep, we've been there for a demo. Alan there was very helpful, but also wanted some more opinions from other users...
Posted By: Julian Re: SEMS software - 13/02/01 9:46 PM
No, the naughty filter didn't cut in I just pressed the * key a few times........
Posted By: Julian Re: SEMS software - 13/02/01 9:54 PM
We were using the old DOS version , but we were using a modem link to our server with the main database.This could have been a contributing factor for the poor response for the searches and report functions. Otherwise providing you can understand the SEMS logic it works but cumbersome .......
Posted By: Joe Benzini Re: SEMS software - 02/10/02 10:16 PM
Paisley Royal Infirmary I believe is using SEMS. Contact Dr Roger Thomas or Jack Watson in Med Physics
Posted By: Steve Roberts Re: SEMS software - 27/01/03 12:49 PM
I worked at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley until 9 months ago and was the Deputy Systems Administrator on our SEMS system.

From an administration point of view (we were running it on SCO Unix until April last year when we switched to Red Hat) its not the most friendly of environments if you've not much experience it these types of OS's, although moving to Red Hat was a step forward. The writing of reports using RGEN seems like a bit of a black art at first, but take time to get to know it and its quite powerfull. On the plus side, Red Hat is much more stable and secure than any of Bill Gate's offering to date, and once you get your head round Linux it's relatively easy to follow.

We didnt use any of tha additional modules for SEMS and certainely didn't use it to anything like its full capacity, but for the job we used it for it proved functional and stable.

Around the time I left they were in the market to change / update the system, either to the windows version or a competitors product. Each of the other products had pro's and con's since our system was already tailored around SEMS. As far as I konw they are no further down the line as the Systems Administrator left the month after me and niether of us have been replaced yet.

From a users point of view, ther terminal window look wasnt liked to much and the layout wasnt everyones cup of tea, but after several years of getting used to it, it became the norm and other systems we tested 'seemed' awkward to use.

I'm not sure how IBS stand as far as demoing the product but I wouldn't rule it out without speaking to existing users and taking a look at the product in use, possibly even by visiting another site that implements it.

As a final note, where I work now uses its own in house database written in Access by the Physicist here, which I have found a lot more restrictive than SEMS was.
Posted By: Mark.N Re: SEMS software - 11/08/03 6:20 AM
We could be in the marketplace for a replacement for our SEMS database..
Not including HECS, has anyone out there changed from SEMS to another? If so, was the transfer of data from SEMS to the other done easily..ish?

Please, email me..we would like to see some demo's.

Posted By: Alex Re: SEMS software - 11/08/03 8:40 AM
We use Emat.
Posted By: Morse Re: SEMS software - 12/08/03 8:19 AM
Hi Mark.
We have done exactly that. When moving to EMAT extracting data from SEMS to a spreadsheet was easy. Transfer of that data into EMAT by Barwick was very accurate and painless. The only painfull thing we had to do was start our PPM's and external contracts from scratch. To be honest that wasn't such a bad thing.
Posted By: Mark.N Re: SEMS software - 12/08/03 9:49 AM
Morning Morse.
What version of SEMS did you have and why did you ditch it?
How does EMAT differ from SEMS?

Posted By: Morse Re: SEMS software - 18/08/03 2:05 PM
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.
We were on the character based ver.
Why did we ditch it?
Reasons are many and varied. Support costs were getting high. End users never warmed to it especially the MTO's. Setting up remote printers etc required major open heart surgery (unix networking ip addresses all that really interesting stuff). When we found that the GUI version wasn't much better we decided to look around as we do for all software over 5 years.
Sems had it's good points too. It's just that no-one every felt at ease using it and reporting was via a preset list of reports. IBS would of course set up new reports for you at a cost. No one here ever mastered the reporting skills necessary to generate our own. Lifes too short.
EMAT. Windows based, really easy to use. All reports can be dumped at the click of a button to excel. Capturing the costs of contractors and in-house PPM is excellent. PPM's job cards could do with a bit of expanding but I am discussing this at present with Barwick. Of course it's not the panacea for all our ill's(not yet anyway)but no piece of software is. Our managers use it. Need I say more.
Posted By: John Sandham Re: SEMS software - 22/11/04 3:44 PM
Whatever happened to SEMS? Is it still in use anywhere?
Posted By: BSM Re: SEMS software - 23/11/04 11:09 AM
We still use SEMS, but are about to replace / upgrade it.

Does anyone use OPTIM?

If so, what do you think of it?
Posted By: ajcs Re: SEMS software - 23/11/04 1:25 PM
WE have been using SEMS since 1993. Its not very user friendly I agree, it is useful for looking up equipment history tho.
A few people in our Dept are starting to use the GUI (Windows) version. The screen layout is identical, it just seem that you use a mouse to click on any number of buttons along the top toolbar, instead of using menus.
Posted By: Bioman Re: SEMS software - 23/11/04 1:48 PM

Have you spoken to Nigel Beaumont-Rydings at Oldham as he chairs the Optim Users Group or Jim McWilliams at Hinchingbrooke, Huntingdon as they are the Philips reference site. Other users include Hemel, Lincoln, City Hosp in Nottingham and a few more I can't quite remember. Addenbrookes and St George's are also in process of implementing

There is a user group meeting scheduled for this Thursday in Lincoln.

Good luck
Posted By: Peggy Mattock IBS Re: SEMS software - 23/11/04 3:49 PM
Firstly - if this message is deemed inappropriate for this noticeboard (despite it's title) - my apologies.

SEMS v6.1 is on general release, and includes a lot of user interface enhancements and functional developments that make it very different to the 'character' version. The next generation of SEMS will be browser based, whilst co-existing with the current graphical version; asset maintenance functions will be the first to be implemented in 2005. All members of the SEMS User Group can have their say in the development - it will not simply be a 'copy' of the existing screens in a new format. Ease of use is a primary objective!
Posted By: Chris G Re: SEMS software - 25/11/04 8:17 AM

We have just been through a 3 month review of several systems, but the two that stood out were Optim (Philips) and E-MAT (Barwick Systems Ltd.).

After carefully weighing up the pros, cons and speaking to several existing users of both systems at numerous sites, including a visit or two and looking at the costs involved (short & mid-term) along with the on-going benefits we came to our carefully considered conclusion.

Out of the two systems we chose E-MAT and are currently working with the data and development to suit our site, here at Trafford, prior to launch.

If you're interested in reviewing our findings, I could probably make our report available to you.

Email me if it is of interest.
Posted By: Paul Stockton Re: SEMS software - 26/11/04 3:39 PM

E-MAT is available for download from our website http://www.barwicksystems.co.uk
Under Products/E-MAT, you will be presented with a link to download the TRIAL version. This version comes with a trial database and context sensitive help.

I could provide an overview document which identifies functionality within the E-MAT (Medical Equipment Management And Traceability) system and its associated modules. These presently comprise the Training System (CNST), Equipment Library Module, Call Logger on the Web, Service History on the PDA, and PC System.
BSL believe by purchasing the core E-MAT system and integrating the Training System (recording those staff trained in the use of particular items of equipment) can assist the Trust to make net SAVINGS by reducing CNST payments.

With E-MAT you get ongoing development and you get a proven support capability with a UK based development team that have worked in the Health Service market for over 20 years.


Posted By: Roy Re: SEMS software - 29/11/04 9:25 AM
Just a thought ;-

If you buy a software system from a medical company, does that give them a foot in the door if they want to take over the service ? ninja
Posted By: David P Re: SEMS software - 29/11/04 1:16 PM
Can't see why it would - all the data we manipulate using their software belongs to us, not them.
Posted By: Geoff Hannis Re: SEMS software - 25/10/06 1:31 PM
Is anyone able to share the secret of how to cut and paste from traditional SEMS? Or found a way to re-map key-stokes (eg, to avoid using E for <Enter> etc.)? “Upgrading” like this makes a lot more sense than forking out Kilo-bucks for a new system. It also gives all that data a continued lease of life, I would have thought. smile
Posted By: StuC Re: SEMS software - 25/10/06 4:00 PM
I have a few ideas of what I'd like to do with SEMS, but none of them involve giving it a continued lease of life! mad
Posted By: Geoff Hannis Re: SEMS software - 27/10/06 10:03 AM
Thanks for that helpful comment, Mate. The point is that, given the never-ending shortage of funding within the NHS, sometimes you need to do more with less, as it were. Or at least make the best of a bad job! smile
Posted By: Geoff Hannis Re: SEMS software - 04/01/17 9:23 PM

OK ... many years later ... did version 6 (7,8?) ever materialise?

Has anyone got a kind word to add ... or is SEMS now well and truly buried in the past? frown
© EBME Forums: Biomedical and Clinical Engineering Discussion Forums.