Stories by Susannah Patton

Cracks in the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

As an undercover agent with the US Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration, Aaron Graham saw firsthand how counterfeit drugs can slip into the pharmaceutical supply chain. Graham, now VP and chief security officer for Purdue Pharma, once posed as the manager of an "institutional pharmacy" selling drugs at a discount to secondary wholesalers who were then supposed to sell them to nursing homes. Soon after he began, his phone started ringing. Dozens of smaller pharmaceutical wholesale companies were calling, desperate to buy his drugs. These secondary or "grey market" wholesalers scour the country and the world for low-price drugs they can sell back to major wholesalers for a profit. In addition to trawling for institutional pharmacies, some secondary wholesalers have been known to purchase counterfeit drugs from criminal organizations in places such as China, Thailand or Colombia.

Written by Susannah Patton19 Feb. 07 14:22

How to Put the Money Where the Mouse Is

Suppose you're sitting on a little cash. Should you put some in a term deposit? Sock it away in a money market account? Now imagine you can visit your bank's Web site to figure it out. Using an online tool, you can move the money around and examine how your earned interest and rates will change, depending on where you put it. Coloured bar charts representing the amount of interest earned in a year shift up and down depending on your choices. When you decide on the right mix, you can open a new account with a few key strokes.

Written by Susannah Patton20 Jan. 07 14:10

Consumer Appeal

When Paul Tang first downloaded Google's desktop search application, he was impressed by its speed and power. Instead of painstakingly looking for data and files on his hard drive, he could find them with the ease of a Web search. However, Tang, chief medical information officer at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF), quickly realized that the slick application could also be dangerous.

Written by Susannah Patton06 Nov. 06 14:04

Do-It-Yourself Development

With a deadline looming and an IT department floundering, a midsize telco provided its programmers with on-the-job mentoring

Written by Susannah Patton05 Nov. 06 15:02

Katrina Plus One: Disaster Plans Stress Communication

A year has passed, but Aug. 29, 2005, remains a fresh memory for Mississippi Power CIO Aline Ward: As Hurricane Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast, Ward scrambled to keep communication lines open from a command center in the utility's Gulfport plant. Because this storm center was located several miles inland, Ward thought equipment would be safe from flooding. "We were on the second floor, but soon the water started to rise and come inside the building," recalls Ward. Working in the dark, Ward and her IT colleagues piled sandbags against the door and bailed water from the room to keep radio communications equipment up and running.

Written by Susannah Patton05 Sept. 06 23:04

Answering the Call

With a corded phone clutched in one hand and a spatula in the other, the man gazes anxiously at a piece of meat sizzling on his stove. He's on the line with his credit card company, but instead of speaking with a live human, he's stuck in a series of automated prompts. Even as his dinner bursts into flames, he's unwilling to let go of his phone for fear he'll miss a chance to speak with the next available agent. He tries to put out his flaming dinner with a broom, only to have the broom catch fire.

Written by Susannah Patton05 Sept. 06 09:30

Right Tech Dose Helps Medicine Go Down

Computerized physician order-entry systems are like other tricky enterprisewide implementations. They require a tremendous amount of tinkering and monitoring to get right.

Written by Susannah Patton12 July 06 14:59

Powering Down

A typical 10,000-square-foot (1000-square-metre) data centre consumes enough juice to turn on more than 8000 60-watt light bulbs.

Written by Susannah Patton05 June 06 09:00

Captain Contingency

MIT logistics expert Yossi Sheffi talks with CIO about what companies can do to recover quickly from almost any type of disaster.

Written by Susannah Patton03 May 06 12:26

Dial VoIP for Vulnerability

Voice over IP offers great savings in long-distance calls. But without extensive safeguards, VoIP can expose your phone system to the havoc affecting the rest of the Web.

Written by Susannah Patton03 Feb. 06 11:31

Beating the Boomer Brain Drain Blues

The oldest baby boomers are six years away from retirement. Will your company continue to thrive if they take their knowledge with them? Here's how to identify who has key knowledge and how to keep it within the company walls.

Written by Susannah Patton03 Feb. 06 11:23

Multiple Choice Answers

Managing multiple outsourcing vendors is costly and complex, and in order to control contracts and providers, smart CIOs are using vendor dashboards and training their staff in finance.

Written by Susannah Patton16 Jan. 06 15:35

The Perfect Order

Achieving the Holy Grail of "perfect orders" involves more than just plugging data into software. Companies must also restructure their supply chain processes from end to end

Written by Susannah Patton08 Sept. 05 11:23

Who Knows Whom, and Who Knows What?

Employees' personal connections can be as valuable as their individual knowledge base. Social network analysis, or SNA, helps maximize a company's collective smarts.

Written by Susannah Patton07 July 05 08:00