Wednesday May 09, 2012

Case Study: Waiting Room Solutions Relies on MySQL for Web-Based Medical Management Systems

Waiting Room Solutions (WRS) is an award-winning web-based Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Practice Management System for physicians’ offices. Based in Goshen, NY, WRS serves almost 3,000 users for their needs in charting, medical record filing, payment tracking, prescription and reporting via the SaaS (Software as a Service) model, and WRS has sent over 20,000 electronic prescriptions a month over its secure network.

The Business Challenge

WRS was looking for a robust database for enterprise-class web-based applications with the following features:

1. Security

Medical records and health information are highly confidential, and WRS expected to be fully incompliance with privacy regulations such as the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

2. Data Integrity

It is important to minimize data corruption and inconsistency for medical records, because they directly impact critical medical judgment and decisions.

3. Speed/Performance

Doctors work in a fast-paced environment and are not known for being patient. WRS was looking for a database with high performance, and was aiming to deliver the speed of an on-premise system with the SaaS model.

4. Low Cost and Scalability

WRS serves customers ranging from small practices to large enterprises. Therefore, WRS needed a database solution that was affordable to the smallest healthcare provider, while being able to scale to meet the demands of the largest providers who have hundreds of facilities.

The MySQL Solution

WRS evaluated both MySQL and PostgreSQL for its EMR and Practice Management System, and decided to use MySQL for the following reasons:

1. Ubiquity

MySQL is the world’s most popular open-source database with millions of installations. It is widely used and is a proven technology.

2. Better Support

In addition to the community users who actively share knowledge and best practices, it was also important for WRS to know that there is an enterprise behind the product that they can turn to for help if needed. MySQL was created by MySQL AB, and subsequently was developed and improved by Sun Microsystems and now Oracle through acquisitions.It provides WRS with Scalability.

3. Open Source / Open Standard

MySQL is the “M” in the open-source LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP/Python/Perl) stack. By leveraging and integrating the existing open-source technology, WRS was able to develop products and features more quickly, and with better interoperability.

WRS uses MySQL replication to achieve scalability, deploying the master-slave topology. “With MySQL, we can scale as we need. I can install it on many machines and handle any required volume,” said Brad Hall, Systems Administrator at WRS. “This gives us far more flexibility with hardware.” Three primary slaves all have to handle the volume of over 6,000 queries per second throughout the day, and WRS uses partitioning to increase speed.

With MySQL, WRS was able to develop a modular EMR and Practice Management solution to support thousands of medical practices, with the following features: electronic medical and health records; billing; scheduling; electronic prescriptions; online patient registration; practice website; messaging; order tracking; transcription; document management; and disease management. “We required an open source solution that was well maintained, stable, and actively growing. In addition, we required a solution that offered access to enterprise support when needed. MySQL was the right choice for us,” said Hall. “The performance, scalability, and reliability delivered by MySQL with InnoDB has been excellent.”

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