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MEDHOST Accommodates Growing Healthcare Providers With Expanded Field Lengths

Cliff Dowell, senior software engineer, MEDHOST — Photo by Hollis Bennett


Customer: MEDHOST Inc.
Headquarters: Franklin, Tennessee
Business: Full-service enterprise and best-of-breed application developer and hosting company for the healthcare industry
Challenge: Increase database field lengths to accommodate a growing customer
Solution: Using several tools from Fresche Legacy to ensure that changes in field length were also reflected in MEDHOST’s applications without disrupting customer operations
Hardware: A variety of IBM Power Systems servers
Software: Fresche Legacy’s (formerly Databorough’s) X-Analyze, X-Open and X-Resize

Application end users typically don’t think about back-end programming. They simply use the tools at hand that make them more productive to support their organizations. And why wouldn’t they? Well-written programs are users’ conduits to crucial data related to customers, sales or accounting functions, for example.

But front-line application developers are well aware of how seemingly invisible processes truly operate. After all, even if they didn’t actually write the programs, they’re often charged with supporting them. So when issues such as the length of character fields come into play, these developers must ensure they can quickly address them.

That was the situation MEDHOST, an application developer and hosting service provider for the medical industry, faced when a client requested that MEDHOST’s application character fields be enlarged to support its growing business. After exploring options to accommodate this request, including manually extending the fields, MEDHOST decided instead to use several key tools from Fresche Legacy, including X-Analysis, X-Open and X-Resize, to quickly and cleanly streamline the process.

“Based on the magnitude and depth of the project, I can’t imagine the amount of human hours that would have been required to match what X-Resize can do in just hours—without bringing in the potential for human error,” remarks Cliff Dowell, senior software engineer with MEDHOST. “It’s really quite amazing.”

Customer First

Headquartered in Franklin, Tennessee, MEDHOST offers a variety of IBM Power Systems* technology-based application offerings for the healthcare community, either locally hosted by MEDHOST or supported on customer systems. Applications within the suite of enterprise clinicals, financials, patient access and revenue cycle include MEDHOST Emergency Department Information System (EDIS), MEDHOST PatientFlow HD, MEDHOST Advanced Perioperative Information Management System (PIMS), and the software as a service (SaaS)- and cloud-based MEDHOST YourCareCommunity, and executive dashboard MEDHOST Business Intelligence.

“Around two-thirds of our offerings have a Java* interface and the other third a green-screen menuing system,” Dowell notes. “For example, a hospital may be using all GUI-based apps or a mix, where doctors might use the Java front end but the pharmacy an RPG-based green screen. It’s up to the customer which interface they prefer and, to some degree, it’s driven by the application release they’re running.”

In an effort to ensure its customers (which include approximately 1,000 facilities) get the most from their MEDHOST experience, the company has a 12-member physician advisory board that provides upfront input on software and ongoing support throughout the development process. This helps keep MEDHOST’s offerings tightly aligned with overall healthcare-community wants, needs and requirements.

Jim Utsler, IBM Systems Magazine senior writer, has been covering the technology field for more than a decade. Jim can be reached at jjutsler@provide.net.

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