Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Switching Hospital Systems to Linux

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the open-sores dept.

Businesses 305

jcatcw writes "Health care software vendor McKesson Provider Technologies is focusing on ways to cut IT costs for customers, including hospitals and medical offices. The cure is moving many of McKesson's medical software applications to Linux, which can then be used on less expensive commodity hardware instead of expensive mainframes. A deal with Red Hat allows McKesson to offer its software in a top-to-bottom package for mission-critical hospital IT systems."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Yes... but (-1, Redundant)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679635)

Will it run Linux?

Re:Yes... but (-1, Offtopic)

log1385 (1199377) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679655)

Yes.

Re:Yes... but (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21679707)

MOD PARENT UP +5 INSIGHTFUL

Re:Yes... but (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21679827)

Mod parent down -1 CHILD BEATER

Re:Yes... but (-1, Offtopic)

Nextraztus (1084719) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679691)

NO!

No!!! (4, Funny)

pegr (46683) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679777)

Just what we need... MUMPS [wikipedia.org] for Linux. No!!!!!

Re:No!!! (1)

jnelson4765 (845296) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679983)

Hey - it's better than most out there. Plus, you don't have to throw out the green screens...

Re:No!!! (3, Funny)

copdk4 (712016) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680439)

dont underestimate the power of MUMPS. My advisor was one of the developers of the language (Octo's lab at Mass General).. sometimes during our meetings he pulls up the MUMPS command prompt and writes 2 lines to do stuff that would probably take me alteast 50 lines of Java code. seriously no joke. Someday I plan to learn it once he lets me graduate :)

hmm (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21679651)

the cure are doing what now?

Re:hmm (5, Funny)

cooley (261024) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679811)

The cure is moving many of McKesson's medical software applications to Linux
Monday, applications choke
Tuesday, Wednesday, RAID set's broke
Thursday, let out the magic smoke
but on Friday, I patch bugs

Monday, my xorg conf is toast
Tuesday, Wednesday, CPU roasts
Thursday, it won't even POST
but on Friday, I patch bugs

LINUX IS FUCKING SHIT!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21679999)

Wrap it in a diaper and mail it to Africa!

Re:LINUX IS FUCKING SHIT!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21680197)

I've used linux at home for eleven years and I have no intention of changing that.

I've never used linux at work though, until the last year when we switched some servers from HPUX to RedHat. Ever since then, I'm leaning towards "LINUX IS FUCKING SHIT!!!".

Just lots of weird mysteries... I really want to believe that it's java causing the problems, but why did it work on HPUX?

as someone who works in the industry... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21679665)

McKesson can lick my ballsack. Linux is good. McKesson... not so good.

Re:as someone who works in the industry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21680223)

How about KCI?

We buy driflo from McKession and then turn around and sell it for $100 a box.

BTW, for all those on V.A.C. machines, after Dec 31, the US San Antonio plant is closing (along with 50 jobs) and now your canisters and dressings will come from Ireland.

Also, the HIPPA protected documents that your HHA and doctor's office send in will no longer go to San Antonio either. Your private health documents will now be transfered to India (along with another 150 jobs) to be veiwed and entered. (Think about what is on those forms ... SS, DOB, Address, wounds, infections, etc.. They now will be going to a different country that is not HIPPA protected - but I'm sure they'll shread the documents when done.)

And for an added bonus, that information, once entered, will be transfered back to the US.

Loss of jobs and a risk of privacy because a 21 % rise in profits was not enough.

http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/stories/2007/09/17/daily22.html?ana=from_rss [bizjournals.com] --- Ireland
http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/stories/MYSA102307.KCI3Q.EN.19b4fea57.html [mysanantonio.com] --- Profits

Affordable health care (5, Interesting)

log1385 (1199377) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679673)

If this catches on, health care will become a little more affordable. 60% of IT costs is quite a bit of money for hospitals to save.

... and screw the economy (0)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679737)

Healthcare spending is one of the big driving forces of the US economy. Reducing spending in healthcare and healthcare support services reduces GDP.

You can bet your arm/leg/appendage of choice that this will be resisted at many levels.

Yes, I know that GDP is far from beling a good health indicator, but that's the number that gets measured.

Re:... and screw the economy (5, Insightful)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679943)

If that isn't the parable of the broken window if I have ever heard it! Efficiency to any market is a good thing. The more unnecessary cost involved in the healthcare industry, the more dollars it needlessly sucks out of the rest of the economy. Sure, you can make the argument that healthcare is a capital purchase in that it increases your viability in the labor force, but that is a stretch. Cutting bloat is never a bad thing. We need to cut some serious bloat out of the industry, and we should start with beaurecracy and go all the way down to reforming the insurance industry. There needs to be some kind of oversight on cost to quality ratios, as this hybrid government backed/privately funded monster is the model of inefficiency. I like to argue for social justice so I'm naturally wary of any solely private system, but a well-designed private system would be ten times better than what we have now.

Re:... and screw the economy (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21680627)

I don't understand the mentality either. Once here on /. I simply stated that it might be a good idea for people to try to behave a bit more sustainably and I get ripped into about moving into a grass hut with a dirt floor. Consumption is a religion for some and it is due to a belief that the economy will collapse if we don't all go out and buy something and just throw it away unopened. Why would people think that?

Re:... and screw the economy (5, Insightful)

blurryrunner (524305) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679963)

I think the market could find something much more efficient than health care that would more than offset the effect on the economy. Your argument reminds me of the broken window fallacy [wikipedia.org] . Wasting money in health care is like breaking windows and saying that it's providing jobs. Sure, but fixing that window is just taking resources away from better endeavors.

/br

Re:... and screw the economy (5, Interesting)

RESPAWN (153636) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680105)

No, the spending wouldn't decrease at all. They would just reapportion the funds to equipment such as the latest digital X-Ray machines. Or the newest CAT scanner. Or the latest robotic surgical nurse.

You get the picture. In fact, in most of health care, that's just what happens already. They spend as little as possible on IT and reapportion the cost to areas of service that will directly benefit their ability to attract doctors and customers and therefore generate greater revenues.

Those reading this might think I'm kidding, but let me tell you this: I once replaced a token ring network with an ethernet network connecting Pentium IIs and IIIs. In 2005.

-- A former healthcare IT worker.

Re:Affordable health care (4, Insightful)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679741)

Honestly, it would be nice, but IT costs are afterthoughts when it comes to the healthcare industry. The market is so broken. Quality of care and price are completely detached. The privatization here, the socialization there... it's just one big quagmire. If this sort of thing did catch on, which would be a long ways in the future and a big if at that, the effect on the price of care would be almost unnoticeable. It's nice to dream, but beaureacracy and corporate litigiousness have busted the market. It's a mess.

Re:Affordable health care (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21680113)

Call me when we get doctors that are not gouging prices like crazy, hospital admins that do very little for their 6 figure incomes, Supplies that are horribly overpriced, medications that are priced 9000 percent higher than normal.

The entire medical biz is a scam to get the poor to finance a few $2,500,000 homes and lots of BMW 7 series cars. Doctors do not deserve to be paid insane rates. Some doctors are sane and charge real rates and tell their clients to avoid the hospital at all costs while helping them with outpaitent surgery in their offices.

IT costs are less than 1/90th the cost of health care.

Re:Affordable health care (4, Interesting)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679755)

The IT costs are peanuts compared to the real costs. And of course those real costs are mostly made up. It is the inflated values of machines used for testing. Any witch doctor can say your leg is broke, but only a few would have an X-ray and MRI machines to show why they need to charge you more for their opinion.

You would think that after they pay for their equipment, the costs of using it would go down. It just isn't so, Sure there are still costs like maintenance and so on but generally the cost of using it goes up once it is paid off.

Re:Affordable health care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21679907)

You have to remember that often patients basically demand to have the most sophisticated technology applied. Also, when your leg is "broke" there is quite a bit that you want to know like what kind of fracture it is (there are quite a few). You at least need an x-ray for that and the treatment type (meaning the chance for complete recovery) depends on these findings.

Re:Affordable health care (1, Flamebait)

fat_mike (71855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679889)

Are you 13 years old or something? 60% of health costs aren't IT related you retard. Do you really think a Linux based system is going to decrease your health insurance costs? HMO+Insurance Company*Lawyers/*+-Lobbyists decide your medical costs. Don't like it, move somewhere else, break a bone, get a disease and see how many months it takes before you get in.

Why do these kind of stories even get posted on Slashdot. Stick with IT about IT stories. "If this catches on", I've heard that before:

"If this catches on, Linux will rule the Desktop!"
"If this catches on, KDE and Gnome will put Microsoft out of business!"
"If this catches on, OpenOffice will put Microsoft out of business!"

Also, what's with all the chest-beating, ball-grabbing, flabby it guy trying to be tough Linux crap lately. Also, where did all the ads go?

Re:Affordable health care (0, Troll)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680107)

Linux as a server/mainframe OS is quite capable of competing in a situation like this, and already does in many cases, whereas Gnome and KDE can barely compete with each other most of the time.

Re:Affordable health care (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680645)

When an obvious troll like that gets modded insightful, it disproves idea that Slashdot is biased in favour of open source.

What the hell is that comment meant to mean:

That KDE and Gnome have low market share compared to Windows? We knew that.

Perhaps it means that there is something wrong with the open source desktops? In that case, what? I far prefer KDE to Windows (I hated having to use Windows at work, I used someone else's Windows laptop recently and found it horrible) and I know plenty of other people who do as well.

Wait, I know, it means someone who has probably never used them (or possibly used version 1.0 of each), think they are not as good as Windows. Well thanks, for your opinion, mine is different.

Re:Affordable health care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21680083)

Or it just means more profits...

I'm all for Linux and *nix in general, but I doubt they went to Red Hat to pass the savings to the customer, or "*nix systems are superior, lets switch". More likely is that somebody somewhere down the line saw "Linux is free as in beer... that means profit and a promotion!" Only afterwards they realized they don't have anybody that knows anything about Linux, its expensive as hell to hire people that do, and that since they're a Hospital in the first place, they certainly can't have their systems break without having somebody to blame it on, hence why they spent the money on RH support...

Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful step (5, Interesting)

dmr001 (103373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679681)

If you use McKesson's software every day like I do, you would be amazed at its expense, sluggishness, and irritability. Lab systems that insist on running on Internet Explorer 6 and resizing to fit your whole screen aren't a big surprise - however mediocre. But mission critical systems that routinely crash with Java errors, can't run reliably remotely, require large IT departments to maintain, are slower and more difficult to use than the tty-based systems they replaced, can't trend labs, can't reliably wildcard search patient names, and die miserably if the wind blows more than 5 miles an hour or the moon is waxing - this is truly sad.

I wish our hospital system could dig its way out of it. I don't think running on top of Linux will help much. See if you can get a screenshot of their software on their website - I can't - they don't promote this stuff to the physicians and nurses who use it - it gets sold to the suits. There's a goldmine out their awaiting some entrepreneur who could really take pride in writing good software of this sort, and though I love Linux, I don't really care what it runs on top of.

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (3, Interesting)

GwaihirBW (1155487) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679733)

Two possibilities: in the process of porting, they have to rewrite all of the bits that call grody Windows bits, such as IE, and therefore many problem bits get fixed . . . or they just write bad code all over again, Linux gets the blame, and hospitals revert at great cost.

RedHat may help though - they might insist on some level of quality / provide some assistance in the creation of software that does not suck quite so much. They have a reputation to maintain, as well as sufficient company-ness to explain to suits that when things go wrong, it is *not* their fault. So, I'll be optimistic about this.

(laughs so hard milk squirts out his nose) (3, Funny)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679759)

RedHat may help though - they might insist on some level of quality / provide some assistance in the creation of software that does not suck quite so much.


(laughs so hard milk squirts out his nose)

Red Hat newbie, are we?

Re:(laughs so hard milk squirts out his nose) (1)

GwaihirBW (1155487) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679867)

Heh, not really. I don't expect quality from RedHat, but I figure they *might* be corporate enough to lean on this software company if it starts making their product look bad. Silver lining and all that. :-)

On providing assistance, that might have been a stretch . . . but it does sound like this hospital software vendor is several tiers below them, so it's *possible*?

Re:(laughs so hard milk squirts out his nose) (4, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680087)

Gosh, I hope you were drinking milk.

Re:(laughs so hard milk squirts out his nose) (5, Informative)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680097)

I actually think you're the redhat newbie and not the parent. RedHat in recent (3-4 years?) has been very stable. All the stuff gets seriously stress-tested on Fedora first, so by the time it makes it into a stable RedHat, things are stable--i.e. the packages don't "suck". Additionally, because things are "tested" on Fedora first you get this kind of intrinsic QA for things making it into RedHat stable. Next time you decide to squeeze milk through your sinuses, at least do it for something funnier ;-)

Re:(laughs so hard milk squirts out his nose) (5, Informative)

module0000 (882745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680145)

Glad to see someone else saw this glaring piece of obviousness.

Just because a product wasn't plug-and-play in 1997 when you last used it, doesn't mean it still sucks a decade later.

The amount of testing/development that takes place in the fedora community all funnels directly into a more stable and usable product(i.e. RHEL). That subscription to RHN ensures those engineers bust their ass to fix whats wrong and get it delivered to you: it also means that if your the IT staff in said hospitable and something doesn't make 100%, you can call someone who it does make 100% to and get an answer/fix instead of diagnosing it for 45 minutes while a doctor needing to do a simple task breathes down your neck and wastes both their time and yours.

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (2, Informative)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680037)

Two possibilities: in the process of porting, they have to rewrite all of the bits that call grody Windows bits, such as IE, and therefore many problem bits get fixed . . . or they just write bad code all over again, Linux gets the blame, and hospitals revert at great cost.

      You don't "call" IE, you serve it. And the description poster provided is of the Java server code rewrite that didn't work like the prior "tty" system. That's mainframe terminal software. (I'm an AS/400 System i programmer. McKesson also used to run their enterprise software on AS/400, but they also bought HBOC medical system software company which was mainframe software, so it's probably referring to that.)

      There was a big problem with the HBOC thing, lawsuits, etc., but they would have rewritten in J2EE anyway. And you'll hear people who have to use web systems replacing mainframe tty systems saying the same thing everytime. I have a collection of articles that make that point over and over.

  rd
 

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679747)

Start a project to collect requirements. A lot of geeks will happily hack on it for you but we have no idea WTF you need.

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21679877)

You think we're going to hack on a huge application for hospital administration--for free? Yeah, maybe if the whole deal would suit hospitals in developing nations, where it might be appreciated. I ain't coding shit for that industry, unless I can bend them over and fuck 'em in the ass like they do everyone else.

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21680203)

you can fuck me in the ass.

Sam X.
Linux and Leather, Better Together!

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (2, Insightful)

PolyDwarf (156355) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679879)

Hospitals will not go for that.

They want accountability. They want someone to blame/sue if something goes wrong. A bunch of geeks writing software anonymously across the Internet? No hospital manager will go for that, especially with privacy guidelines going rampant. Even if they have the source code, they will not have the time/money to audit that code to make sure that everyone's info is not going to Russia.

They'll talk to Redhat and McKesson... Those companies are taking the responsibility (and liability) for the software. They won't talk to random Joe Blow on the internet.

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (2, Interesting)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679959)

They want accountability. They want someone to blame/sue if something goes wrong.
IMHO if they went this way the best option would be to hire a couple of really good programmers and get them to do the final QA on the code. Set down guidelines for the anonymous geeks out there and ignore code that breaches this. True this allows for winners of the underhanded C competition to have a crack at sneaking code into the system, but the accountability is there, and is thus no different from hiring a software company. The geeks benefit because at some point the cost of health care would surely drop (is this even definite?) and hey, maybe they'll let us put our names in there or perhaps some sort of cash incentive for accepted code.

Would also be supremely good for the Open Source community in general because of the massive amount of publicity we could gain from this (especially if the code is stronger, better and faster).

My $0.02 AU, ignore at will

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680375)

They can choose to take control over their own IT solution or they can continue to be dissatisfied with a proprietary one.. it's completely up to them.

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (3, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679865)

Well, TFA didn't exactly mention it, but it appears that it's the server apps that get the UNIX -> Linux treatment. I'll bet that the clients remain XP / Exploder 5-6.

Linux at the desk top is so next year.

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680463)

Linux at the desk top is so next year.

Haha, that's a good one, I have to remember that.

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21679885)

Surprisingly this article isn't even about replacing Windows with Linux. It appears to be about replacing various mainframes and big UNIX systems with Linux setups. Now, in this case mainframe may not be just the S/390 series (sytem-Z systems). AS/400 systems are big in medical usage too (system-p in IBMs current terminology.) Along with VMS systems, which I would consider more UNIX-level then mainframe-level, but I think a few large VMS systems are sometimes referred to as mainframes too.

          Anyway, I think it's right. Mainframes are rock-solid reliable, but quite expensive. They'll do stuff like if a CPU goes bas (detected within 1 cycle because every step of the pipeline is run in duplicate with a comparator at each pipeline stage), it'll switch the job to a spare CPU and then the system will phone IBM to come in and replace the bad CPU. But it's at quite a high cost. And UNIX systems? Good but a failsafe Linux setup wil literally give you an equivalent setup for much less.

          Interestingly, the article makes it sound a bit like some of the holdoffs "not" switching to Linux because they use a mainframe, are in fact running mainframe Linux (I doubt on the whole thing -- running multiple simultaneous OSes using virtualization has been done on mainframes for like 40 years.)

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679921)

Hey, you've just described every goddamned business app, ever!

How many times have we seen million-dollar apps built on VB and a few unlicensed OCX objects ?

The only difference between Geek Squad and a big-business app developer is the Geek Squad developer doesn't jerk off while reading his job contract.

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (1)

iBooks (1037482) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679981)

I work at a Canadian hospital where the main clinical application is Cerner. In the IT Dept we usually stick with thin installs (connect to Citrix server) but we throw thick installs on a small number of computers that need to work. The thick install is roughly 2GB, 5k files. For fun, I looked at what made up a 2GB enterprise application:
800 executables
1200 help files
2000 dll's
1000 ActiveX controls

I have no idea how it works. Well, that's not entirely true, when you do something wrong it throws VBErrors, so I figured it's mostly coded in VB6.

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (5, Informative)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680021)

AMEN BROTHER! I'm a doctor in a hospital that just deployed an electronic health record system that is slower than the system it replaced - which was slower than the TTY system it replaced - that refuses to search patient names if you can't provide a first initial. I'm an anesthesiologist, so I see people I don't have long relationships with, and remembering someone's first name is just damned hard when you remember their medical conditions better than their name. The one piece of medical software I've seen that is really fantastic - and no, I don't own a piece of the company, I just wish I did - is our radiology system, Stentor iSite (now bought by Phillips, I think). It's very easy to use, yet the advanced user can access all sorts of features that improve the experience.

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (5, Interesting)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680377)

I'm a doctor in a hospital that just deployed an electronic health record system that is slower than the system it replaced - which was slower than the TTY system it replaced - that refuses to search patient names if you can't provide a first initial.

Pay attention here, IT freaks. Notice that the user here (possibly your doctor) says nothing about the OS. This is simply abysmal design and implementation. Unix/Linux/Windows/OSX/Oracle/Postgres/MySQL/MSSQL....ALL could end up thusly. Or all could end up not too bad. Design it right, and build it right. Think about what your user is actually trying to accomplish.

I saw some comments upthread about RedHat this and Linux that...Bullshit. The user interface is (most of) the key. If you screw that, the backend matters little.

Yes, if you start from a stable base, it is easier. But no matter what the base is, if you fuck up the actual program and interface the that user, in this case a doctor or nurse, uses....everything else is irrelevant. They will hate it. And still not care what the base OS is.

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680477)

Mod parent up! This is the most Insightful comment I've read in weeks.

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (1)

mattOzan (165392) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680533)

Interesting. I work in IT for the anesthesiology dept at a Northern California hospital. We use Stentor and Epic's EMR. Our biggest frustration is the lack of a good billing module for our procedures.

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (5, Interesting)

basic0 (182925) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680081)

There's a goldmine out their awaiting some entrepreneur who could really take pride in writing good software of this sort
This is exactly what I've been doing for the last 8 months. I'm being paid by a neurologist to develop a system to run his practice. What I've built is a LAMP framework that can be adapted to any medical practice. It's entirely paperless, replaces faxing, automates a ton of stuff currently done by secretaries, and meets all the requirements for electronic records set out by The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. I'm developing the whole thing on my own (so far), and although I'm not a brilliant programmer, it's faster, more secure, more scalable, and more platform independent, and way more intuitive than anything that's currently being used at any hospital in our city.

We're in beta testing with actual patients now and my boss is bankrolling us into starting a company to sell the software and other medical-related IT solutions to local doctors (many of whom have horribly inefficient offices and don't fully realize it). I'm hoping we can expand beyond just local doctors, because it is a huge market and the best anyone else seems to be doing (around southern Ontario at least) is holding seminars to talk about how technology could be used to enhance medical practice someday.

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (4, Insightful)

copdk4 (712016) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680509)

yes its a huge market. it all works fine in a local institution, but the real challenge lies when you try to "generalize" it to different institutions, each with their own idiosyntric processes and data elements. Keep in mind unless you make the underlying engine some standards based (using RIM or terminology driven) or use good design software practices (Archetypes) you ll have a lot of trouble customizing it.. unless of course.. you become like existing vendors who develop the whole thing from scratch at each installation site and send a team of IT services who work there forever and keep your revenue stream running. Good Luck.

my 2 cents

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (-1, Flamebait)

Smooth Hound (594058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680117)

I work for a McKesson competitor and I must say I welcome their pushing Linux, since it will mean more disgruntled customers and more sales for us.

The sad truth is that Linux has by far the worst uptime of all platforms we support. Yes, much worse than Windows. It is so bad that we actually discourage customers from running Linux for their database server.

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680207)

What kinds of problems are you experiencing with Linux?

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (5, Funny)

RESPAWN (153636) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680147)

I was going to make my own McKesson sucks comment, but instead I'll just second yours. They write Crap. Period. End of story.

I remember sitting in on a presentation they once made to one of our directors regarding some new patient records management system they were trying to pitch to us. Not one single screen shot was shown nor were any technical people on hand so that I could ask the difficult questions. In the end, when she asked me my opinion, the conversation went like this:

Me: Remember application X that you used to use at hospital Y?
Her: Uh... yes.
Me: They wrote it.

We didn't buy the software.

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (1)

boris111 (837756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680475)

Hmm I think that's a sign of the industry. I work for a competitor and there is so many applications and sub applications that are offered by the company the marketing people getting shuffled around the company cannot keep up. It's also been my experience that unfortunately it's not the IT technical types at hospitals pitching their systems to... but it's the business types who have no clue as well.

And here I thought something good was being done. (1)

BDA7DD (642757) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680165)

I wanted to believe, but... but... you just had to ruin Christmas, didn't you? :(

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21680367)

No one will ever read this, and I'm sure it will get modded down to oblivion, but I work for a healtcare software company in Austin, TX:
http://www.opushealthcare.com/ [opushealthcare.com]

We write clinical and laboratory software. We are wrapping up a port of our lab software from HP-UX on the server to Linux on the server (RHEL5 is the "preferred" platform) and from a Java client to a C# client. Our clinical system runs on linux as well, with an IE web client.

We're smaller than McKesson at the moment, and if you're working as a lab tech, nurse, or in some other patient-care capacity you probably have no input regarding these things, but I thought I'd throw it out there as this is one of the first times my work has had any relevance to a Slashdot story that I can remember.

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (1)

lanner (107308) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680385)

I had to throw my mee-too in. I worked as a contractor at a hospital and had pretty poor experiences with the crappy hospital industry software, including McKesson's. My interactions with their company proved their stupidity. Applying patches to their software was truly painful.

Re:Lackluster vendor (1)

greenguy (162630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680507)

There's a goldmine out their awaiting some entrepreneur who could really take pride in writing good software of this sort, and though I love Linux, I don't really care what it runs on top of.
I just got a job at a very good clinic (not in IT, but that's another story), and I must say, they are good in spite of their computers. Case in point: I have four computer logins, and two phone logins. All without getting up from my chair. More to the point, after looking at this stuff for six weeks, I keep thinking, "OK, this is pretty sophisticated, but it's still just a front end to a database. It could be a LOT better if there had been an information architect in the building when they put it together."

Seriously, someone help me out and point out the flaw in my thinking: if all they need is a database front-end, they should be able to make the entire thing browser-based. You log in, and the user-appropriate boxes appear automagically, a la a hundred different CMSs out there. Right? Right? I mean, you could even dumb it down to where it works in IE6...

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21680585)

"There's a goldmine out their awaiting some entrepreneur who could really take pride in writing good software of this sort, and though I love Linux, I don't really care what it runs on top of."

No there isn't. Making this stuff run indemnity proof is a very expensive venture. Any startup would be sued out of existance overnight.

Not to mention, no hospital is going to choose the new kid on the block anymore. Hospitals are the cornerstone of mediocrity.

Sean

Re:Lackluster vendor makes incremental, pitiful st (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21680589)

Just wanna give a shout out to the PR rep... (4, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679709)

Just wanna give a shout out to the PR rep that planted this story. Three brand mentions in the opening paragraph - can I get a whoop-whoop?

Two points off for the "less expensive commodity hardware instead of expensive mainframes" - that's a Microsoft marketing phrase from the early 1990's for God's sake - but still a pretty good job all around.

But why RedHat? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21679729)

OMG , mission-critical hospital IT systems Dependant on RedHat's technical support.
May god have mercy on us all!

Ceo3k (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21679803)

Just watch (-1, Flamebait)

jeremy128 (976915) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679813)

Just watch. The janitor will come by, type a few random key strokes into the terminal, and boom, no more linux box. *nix computers are just too easy too kill.

Re:Just watch (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679849)

Yes, because all the janitors have access to secure data centers and server rooms. You know nothing. Get outta here.

Re:Just watch (5, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680305)

The janitor will come by, type a few random key strokes into the terminal, and boom, no more linux box. *nix computers are just too easy too kill.

Yeah, that's the major flaw of Unix operating systems, and it still hasn't been solved in the 35 years Unix has been around.

If only there was some sort of system under which some special user with special powers could create user accounts deprived of these special powers so that they wouldn't be able to break everything...

You're right - you're so right (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680643)

Any advanced server you should be able to kill with a few mouse clicks, [wikipedia.org] so that way your janitor or your cat can kill the system. Killing the system through a root console is so 1970's.

I'd hate to be a patient - first hand experience (1, Interesting)

gc8005 (733938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679831)

Well, here I sit waiting for McKesson to refund $1300 of my money after 15 months of hassle. Our oldest daughter takes HGH supplied by McKesson. In 2+ years we've had multiple missed shipments, chronic overbilling, "lost" packages. Last night they sent the wrong vials - 3x the dosage - glad we caught that before injecting our daughter. We have dealt with a lot of medical issues and many hospitals and medical companies. McKesson is the most disorganized company we've ever had to deal with.

HIPAA (1)

SiriusStarr (1196697) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679837)

At least now they have some hope of providing confidentiality and protection of information. The government forces anyone who so much as works in a business that touches patient records to go through HIPAA training to make certain that some human error doesn't reveal any sensitive information and then dumps the data on relatively non-secure Windows servers. Linux should provide a significantly more secure environ for it. However, I somehow doubt that my copay is going to go down because of the money they save...

Re:HIPAA (2, Insightful)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679847)

Linux is only secure if you have good people who know how to properly make it secure. It seems that there are a lot of shops where someone with a corner office and a nice car decides that linux is cheap and doesn't decide to properly staff for the change.

Re:HIPAA (1)

SiriusStarr (1196697) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679857)

Security is always dependent on the intelligence of the user/configurer. Linux is a lot more likely to be secure than Windows, however, especially in the hands of an experienced individual. Also, I apologize for my previous post; I committed the egregious sin of not reading before I posted and realize now that I said Windows servers, which is inaccurate. The article cites Unix servers and Windows clients, but the point still stands.

Re:HIPAA (1)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679881)

Which actually gives some additional hope that those who are transitioning from mainframe Unix to Linux will have a much better idea of what they are doing than a transition from Windows to Linux.

Re:HIPAA (1)

SiriusStarr (1196697) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680359)

Precisely. The tech people should not find it too difficult to switch from Unix to Linux on the servers, and the clients can be locked down enough in Linux that end-users won't be able to compromise security.

McKesson... (-1, Flamebait)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679909)

Yea, right. These are the same people that fired my stepbrother in Memphis for unplugging a refridgerator that he was told to unplug (and in the process destroyed 5 million in medical chemicals) and got fired for doing what he was told to do thanks to ignorant management. I wouldn't trust these fuckers as far as I could throw their 25,000 sq.ft. building that's located at the corner of Shelby Drive and Hickory Hill.

Hell, even the cane they had "custom made" for me is a fucking joke. It's already broken within two months, and they're refusing to replace it. Makes me want to shove said cane up the supervisor's ass(es) and beat them senseless with my wrist brace.

If you trust McKesson, you trust idiots and you deserve what the fuck you get. End of story. Buy McKesson and you support DOMESTIC TERRORISTS.

Re:McKesson... (1)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680241)

Wow, dude. I think someone put a little extra crazy in your crystal meth.

Pubic Sector (1)

Paul_Hindt (1129979) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679939)

Personally I don't find it at all surprising that Linux is taking off in the public sector, be it schools, hospitals, government etc. It is a really good thing in fact because it potentially bolsters the security of such organizations that need it most, and at the same time it saves a lot of money.

Re:Pubic Sector (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680001)

Personally I don't find it at all surprising that Linux is taking off in the public sector, be it schools, hospitals, government etc.

You can't serious call the medical industry the public sector can you?

embedded PowerPC Linux gets medical (1, Interesting)

haaz (3346) | more than 6 years ago | (#21679969)

from the and-you-care-because-why? dept... a post-LinuxPPC story.

A year or so after the dust had settled following my departure from and the subsequent implosion of LinuxPPC, I got a call from some southeast Wisconsin consulting group. The woman who called admitted she didn't know what she was talking about, but here it was: "Linux development on an embedded PowerPC processor." Apparently one of the people there, whose name I recognized at the time, had said "find Jason Haas! we need to find Jason Haas! He'd be perfect!" I laughed and told the nice woman that I honestly had no clue how to do what she was talking about, but I knew just the person for it... and I gave them Jeff Carr's phone number. She thanked me and we hung up.

Time passes...

A few months later I get a call from jcarr. "Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey!!!" (this will sound very familiar to anyone who knows jcarr!) It took a few minutes for me to be able to tell what he was saying, as he was rather excited.

Turns out I'd gotten him a job subcontracting for GE Medical Systems. What I like to refer to the military-media-medical industrial complex.

That was 2001 or 2002... and now jcarr's out in the Valley, hooked up with old school Mac developers like Chuck Boich,
and Linux folks too. We'll see about working on The Next Big thing some time soon. (RSN!)

Re:embedded PowerPC Linux gets medical (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21680157)

...d said "find Jason Haas! we need to find Jason Haas! He'd be perfect!" I laughed and told the nice woman that I honestly had no clue how to do what she was talking about, but I knew just the person for it... and I gave them Jeff Carr's phone number.

Who exactly the hell are you and who is Jeff Carr? And why do you think your names are recognizable without context?

Scary!!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21679975)

I just installed Fedora 8. My system is now screwing up royally. I'll probably lose the network again before I can submit this (if the machine doesn't lock up first).

Re:Scary!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21680031)

It's probably safe to assume they won't be running an unstable/testing/development distro in a hospital.
wait, maybe it's not safe to assume that...

Dont make me laugh (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21679977)

A while ago I was hacking at parts of that great mess commonly known as McKessons "top-to-bottom package" for almost 5 years. As far as I can tell the "package" is actually hodge-podge collection of applications accumulated over time by acquiring various software vendors which barely talk to each other. In a lot of cases the people who wrote the apps and knew how to maintain those cached out and jumped the ship years ago. Last thing I heard of it this summer entire locations were shut down and routine maintenance moved to Bangalore. As a twist those left to the end had to do some time there training replacements. Personally I am extremely skeptical about their ability to maintain what's there, much less move this all stuff to radially different platform such as Linux.

Biography of the Goatse guy. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21680183)

One day, I was feeling pretty depressed. I thought it was time for me to "stretch myself." But not in a metaphorical sense. I was actually going to stretch my ass open so that the world could see!



Day one: I remember being in agony. Not because I was ripping my rectum open, but because I couldn't find a way to do that. I reached for the bottle of Bacardi in the liquor cabinet. Then I got the idea. I could stuff this bottle up my ass to rip my rectum open.



Day two: I was thinking about consulting my doctor before doing this, but what good would that do. They would say no and I would lose hope. I started making my anus larger by shoving a dildo up it. It hurt.



Day three: Today is the day I shove a mere beer bottle up my ass. I didn't feel any pain because I was using AnalEeze to numb my anus. I succeeded. There was lots of blood. Believe it or not, I Kirk, have a wife.



Day four: I have prepared this half week to shove a bottle up my ass. I grunted and strained while I forced myself upon this fat bottle. Finally, it was up my asshole. I ran outside in disbelief. I think the neighborhood was in disbelief too. I had a bottle up my ass. My wife ran after me yelling: "I got the camera! Let me wipe up the blood so I can take a picture." Click. There was a picture of me with a bottle up my ass. My first major accomplishment. I thought that a bottle up my ass wasn't enough. I ran inside still in awe of my accomplishment.



Several hours later: As I eezed the bottle out I realized that I could make another picture of my accomplishment. I bent down and reached my hands to my rectum and pulled. "pop!" The veins were popping and visible and everything was red, according to my wife. She reached for the camera and took a legendary picture that I now have up on my homepage. I love my wife so much, that I made sure that my wedding ring was on during the picture.



Today: I am now a favourite website of many. People come from all over the net to see my accomplishment. I think a lot of people love it because I get lots of hits. You can visit my website at www.goatse.cz or my wife's site, who did the same thing after she was proud of me, www.goatshe.cz.


I missed you, Salshdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21680433)

fuck digg

OpenVista (5, Informative)

Wheelie_boy (26751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680243)

Really want to save money? And a whole lot of Tums? Screw McKesson's kludgeware.

OpenVista is the open source version of the VA's VistA program, deployed at over 1500 sites worldwide. You can also grab it for free from http://sourceforge.net/projects/openvista [sourceforge.net] .

Yes, you can get professional training, installation and ongoing support for it:

http://medsphere.org/ [medsphere.org]

Re:OpenVista (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680497)

You (or whoever) should maybe consider a different name; if I were to hear "OpenVista" without context I'd assume it were a ReactOS-type deal.

OpenVista (3, Funny)

RCSInfo (847666) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680563)

OpenVista is an implementation of VistA as in Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture, which existed long before Microsoft Windows Vista, or any Microsoft Windows for that matter.

As Michael Bolton once said "No way. Why should I change? He's the one who sucks."

Oh..Good (1)

Brahma111 (1108583) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680245)

Ta..Da..Serves M$ right. Another system moving to Linux.

Oh wait..They moved from mainframes

Posting as AC for obvious reasons... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21680277)

Posting as AC for obvious reasons... Unfortunately for me I work in healthcare IT. But at least I can pass the bad news on to you.

We can argue about how much of healthcare costs are sucked up by IT. But whatever percentage you come up with is likely to be not insignificant. And one of the biggest costs of healthcare IT is the amount of money paid to so-called "IT Consultants".

My understanding is that pure healthcare people don't understand much about IT and since they figure IT is the next biggest thing, they are willing to give money hand over fist to people who have decent resumes in this field who present themselves as IT "experts".

They are throwing their money away. It's really awful.

If you don't believe me, look at some of the so-called IT "standards" documents coming out of the healthcare IT community.

Sure, HL7 V3 is a good, robust yet flexible standard definition. But look at some of the abysmal crap that is being built off of it.

I mean, seriously, read some of these "standards" documents coming from non-HL7 sources. Not only are they inconsistent with reality. They have massive internal contradictions, logical inconsistencies and even simple syntax errors. And this is stuff from organizations that have been around for A DECADE.

Believe me, IT consulting has nothing to do with helping the healthcare industry actually make the best use of modern technology and everything to do with lining the pockets of a few contractors who would be thrown out of any other domain for sheer incompetence.

Re:Posting as AC for obvious reasons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21680345)

Also posting AC for NDA and CYA reasons.

For an example of an implementation that was done for HL7 version 2.3 sometime between 1995 and 2000 have a look at http://millbrook.com/mik [millbrook.com] then compare it to the 2.3 spec and if you have access compare what the MIK spec says it does versus what the MIK actually does.

The MIK is the interface that sits between practice management software and the rest of the world. This was originally developed by Millbrook which was later bought out by GE and rebranded as Centricity. The MIK is STILL in use for GE Centricity 2006 (a converged PM and EMR system*).

For an example of a medical system that is doing it right have a look at http://mirthproject.org./ [mirthproject.org.] My team has used that to ease our pain from the MIK when we can. Also keep an eye on the HIMSS (http://www.himss.org/) conference in February for some interesting developments. Healthcare is starting to get IT and there are a lot of honest IT companies out there who are applying their solutions to help with this problem.

*The GE PM and EMR were merged, badly. The DB structure basically looks like two discrete database schemas running under the same database. The EMR also has its own, different HL7 interface.

I worked for these guys and can definitely say.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21680321)

that this is a bunch of marketing hype. Mumps, STAR and absolute garbage is about all that they produce. In general the state of IT with American healthcare is pretty bad, and having worked on their lackluster products, and knowing how they rank among providers drives the point home. They are too cheap to hire top tier staff, their culture does no encourage innovation, they do everything they can to drive out their capable staff instead ramping up on a big group to develop software in India. It is amazing that they are not hit with more lawsuits due to medical record and patient data errors. As the old addage says, garbage in, garbage out.

Just make it work (3, Interesting)

RIC_Splinter (1189765) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680327)

I work in the Medical Imaging field, a MRI Field Engineer for Siemens, users in hospital want something that works, they are less tolerant of reboots and system hangs.
In the past Unix (SunOS) was the preferred platform, there are actually many MRI systems running on a 100Mhz Sparc processors today, which still do and excellent job.
We've moved to Windows, it's a common interface for users who can learn it quickly. Windows requires CPU's in the 3Ghz range and higher to be effective. Windows also has major issues with Service Patches and hotfixes in the Medical imaging world, all updates have to be QA'd so there is a delay of months before they get applied. Medical Imaging will probably continue to move away from Windows and it's patches if can make an interface easy for the average user who walks upto a system and start using it.
Recently at Siemens Medical http://www.siemensmedical.com/ [siemensmedical.com] the MRI systems moved from Windows to Linux (Suse) for the image reconstruction computers (Not at the user console). During MRI imaging data is coming in from the scanner at 10MSamples/Sec at 24bit accuracy up to 32 separate channels, that's a significant amount of data to be processed, having a mouse pointer and a GUI interface is just not needed, Linux just more efficient.

Bad idea (2, Insightful)

teslatug (543527) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680473)

I don't know how big these customers are, but Linux is not as stable as people seem to think. I used to work for one of these software companies, and Linux was just for small customers (go above 1000 concurrent users and you're toast). Weird problems start to crop up. Usually RedHat will respond with oh just update to the latest version of xyz. But when you're talking about medical software you can't just upgrade things on a whim. Has RedHat's cluster software even gotten anywhere yet? That was another pain the ass to deal with.

DB... (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680543)

...as open-source alternatives such as MySQL and Ingres catch up with features and robustness, they will eventually be brought into the mix.
On a zOS system, you'd run DB/2, but they use Oracle on Linux. I'm still having a bit of a hard time believing that MySQL on linux has the same "features and robustness" as DB/2 on zOS.

Btw, I can run plenty of web front end applications that have a mainframe on the backend. This looks like a case of rewriting crappy applications with more crappy applications. But this time I can make a press release showing I'm tossing out my "5 nines" mainframe for a linux farm (which could, provided the apps are written correctly, provide "5 nines")

In the middle of a hospital system implementation (2, Insightful)

z4pp4 (923705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680583)

Recently, they requested we do an "open source strategy", which in essence is the plan looking forward a few years to cut over everything to open source solutions.
* The database and reporting layers are Oracle 10g.
* The hospital system application system runs on top of the Oracle 10g Business intelligence suite.
* The system is run on 3 servers per hospital site. Two of the servers are configured to use RHEL and one is running Windows Server 2003. Medium term planning (after the system is stabilized) include cutover from the Windows servers to the Linux servers.
* The system utilizes a client on workstations that is browser based. Initial design of this client includes ActiveX controls, which limits the use of the clients to Windows based workstations. Further down the road, testing on MONO based clients are options.
* Major customization and integration has taken place as part of a large project.

All in all, it is quite easy to switch systems to Linux, since Oracle is portable. It would also put a lower load on the servers and bandwidth. Note however that the biggest expenditure is still the Oracle licenses and the Windows licenses pales in comparison, and changeover would also cost money... so, is this not a case of penny pinching?

I'll take medical starts and ends with Alex... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#21680689)

  • A: Linux Migraine
  • Q: What is Beowulf Cluster Headache?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?