• Adam Thurgar

Oncology App - Decisions

A lot of decisions needed to be made in regard to the redevelopment of the oncology application.

Because we are dealing with health care data (patient information) you had to be acutely aware of health care privacy principles. so the first decision was that no environment could be in the cloud. This included development, testing, staging etc. Everything had to be in the hospital data centre and its DR location.

The second decision was that all servers were virtualised to allow for growth, expansion and dynamic resource allocation. Being Microsoft based this was using Hyper-V.

One of the harder decisions was the move to using SQL Server Enterprise Edition (and Developer edition). When you are an SMB you are always cost conscience. For all of their existing clients they used whatever edition they could use (Web, Standard etc) and this wouldn't change. But for a brand new, high profile cancer hospital it could only be Enterprise. This concerned the application business owners purely on licensing costs alone. This is where having a relationship with Microsoft is so important. Even though Microsoft were not actively involved on a day to day basis, they have a Health Care team that helped with licensing costs, reviewed any design decisions and resolving any technical issues. They were invested in the success of this project. This would mean that all developers machines would need a consistent install of SQL Server and an automated install/build PowerShell script was created.

Two of the strengths of this application were data and testing.

It became apparent that a lot of time and effort had gone into developing a large data scripted library. Any patient type data had been desensitized, all static data (drugs, protocols etc) were accurate. They were able to load, unload and reload any data they required, you just need to run the correct data wrapper script and it got done.

Testing was also a strength. The application owner had made sure that they could unit test all parts of the application, they could stress test. They had thorough test cases and test harnesses. The original developer understood the importance of testing and making sure that the results were consistent. She understood the importance of patient safety and thorough testing made this possible.

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