Medical Data Systems

Their work involves revenue cycle management for the healthcare industry, but the IT department at MDS sometimes feel like anesthesiologists. Their systems have to work quickly and effectively but produce no surprises. Boring is good when it comes to processing huge volumes of data for a trusted and innovative leader in healthcare revenue cycle management. The job of the IT people is anything but that. Here is why.

Products:

DataDirect

SS_Medical Data Systems

Challenge

Error-free loading of high-volume and time-sensitive medical collection data.

Solution

DataDirect drivers for ADO.NET. 

Result

Reliable and high-performing database connectivity, while keeping MDS “database agnostic.”

Story

Challenge

The healthcare revenue cycle is a potentially sensitive topic for many healthcare customers, so MDS takes a respectful, counseling approach to collections. At the same time, it strives to provide outstanding service by improving efficiencies and making ongoing technological advancements, which requires developing, managing and evolving its custom-made software.

When they recently upgraded the version of Sybase ASE, their main database, they encountered “blocking locks” during upload. These essentially stopped the file processing from occurring. Up to that point, MDS had not changed any code on its custom application. The MDS team began to recode certain aspects of the application to address the blocking lock problem. However, the team was concerned about getting into a pattern of recoding every time a database was updated. This practice, which many IT departments reluctantly embrace, tends to result in applications being written for specific databases. Ultimately, the application becomes locked in to that specific database and its vendor. This outcome would undercut the entire flexible IT strategy that makes MDS competitive.

Solution

MDS had previously adopted Progress® DataDirect® for ODBC drivers to connect their applications with Sybase ASE. This choice had resulted in better performance as they were able to write directly to the ODBC spec contained instead of using proprietary database code. To overcome difficulties that sprang from application modifications and the Sybase upgrade, MDS switched from DataDirect for OBDC to Progress® DataDirect® for ADO.NET providers. The development team wanted to see if ADO.NET would correct the blocking lock error without requiring any special coding. 

Result

It worked, with ADO.NET becoming the interface from their database to their applications. With a 100 percent managed wire protocol ADO.NET architecture, DataDirect for ADO.NET connects directly to the RDBMS. There is neither a need for custom coding in the RDBMS language nor a reliance on database vendor client libraries. The results include superior performance and resource efficiency—both highly relevant for the MDS business goal of cost effective, rapid uptake of data. Performance and security are further enhanced because database calls are not made outside of the common language runtime (CLR).
With DataDirect for ADO.NET in place, Sybase ASE is able to handle the large data uploads efficiently and without error. The MDS data management operation is now running smoothly, keeping the data flowing with minimal to no delays. MDS has become database agnostic, meaning they are free to update or even replace their database without having to revamp their custom applications. They have no database clients and are not “held hostage” by a database since just a switch of the driver is necessary to move to a different database.

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