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Here are some Frequently Asked Questions from our customers

What is the recommended Server Hardware?

This is a common question for small to medium sized offices planning to purchse new equipment.

Best recommendation would be "in general": Get the latest desktop/server with faster processor(s), generous amounts of RAM, reasonable to large hard drive, and logical plan and process for onsite and offsite backup.

The server should host the Med-Center/Server software preferrably in a secure area or office. The client machines can be any mix of Windows (running Win2000, XP, or Vista) or Macintosh (OSX) machines connected by ethernet or fast wireless network.

Standard network Local Area Networks and Wide Area Networks can be constructed using 100/1000 BASE-T Ethernet cabling, hubs, routers, and other network devices. For wireless networks, it is recommended that encryption be enabled and that the faster 54Mbps 802.11g devices be used. For connections to the internet, a firewall is recommended for security.

How are remote connection made?

For remote connections (i.e, from home, another office, or other remote area), a Med-Center Client to Server connection can be made directly as if connected at the office. High speed broadband access is needed along with the IP address of the Server machine to set-up the connection. The server machine needs to be connected to the internet and have a static IP address assigned and visible (i.e., not blocked by firewall).

Steps:
First see if the remote computer can "Ping" the server computer. Do this using the operating system's Ping command (Windows console: "Ping 123.45.678.90", ie, ping the IP address...). The Macintosh has a similar ping utility. If Pinging the server fails, the connection of the server to the internet is not correct and needs to be set-up correctly.

Next, on the remote computer, start the Med-Center/Client software. A dialog will be presented (because an autoconnect could not be accomplished) to connect to the server.

Enter the IP address of the server machine and then proceed to connect.

If a successful connection, the Med-Center login validation will be presented and then normal use can then proceed.


What is the maximum number of patients allowed?

The question "what is the maximum number of patients" has been commonly asked, so here is the general answer...

The maximum number of patients that Med-Center can handle relates to the design limit imposed by the database engine. This amounts to greater than 16 million records of data per table (i.e., 16 million patients). The database engine indexes the primary key fields in the tables to enable fast searches and efficient display of patient information. As increasing numbers of patients are added to the system, no significant performance decreases are experienced due to the optimization inherent in the engine and by design in the Med-Center code.


Billing service - Switching between clinic datasets?

For a billing service that is using Med-Center (in single user mode), a feature that is available (but not covered very well in the documentation) allows switching between clinic databases that need to be distinctly separate. Thus a service that handles billing for a multitude of clients can set up datasets for each client and switch as needed for billing processing.

From within Med-Center, choose menu item "File... Open Database..." and a dialog will be presented to open a new database. Simply locate the folder and database file of the second dataset, select it, and press open. The current clinic database will automatically close and the newly selected one will open and present the standard login dialog (with username and password).


What is the Med-Center FileCabinet?

Storing files within the database has been a capability Med-Center has had since about version 2.x. Files were stored in their native format and could be accessed from anywhere in the clinic network. Stored documents have evolved into an integrated feature called the FileCabinet that stores the files on the server (in a dedicated and protected folder) with file metadata stored with the patient record. Management of these files include batch import, export, xml summary reporting, and other familiar manipulation (e.g., searching and sorting). Virtually any file type (scanned documents, images, Word documents, lab results, dictation, etc.) can be stored in the FileCabinet and retrieved from anywhere in the clinic network.

There is a good technical note that covers the FileCabinet features.

See: http://www.databaseconstructs.com/TN_FileCabinet.pdf


How are Superbills created?

Med-Center has a report editor called SuperReports that allows offices to define rather sophisticated route slips (i.e., Superbills). These reports can contain the typical Superbill definition combined with patient table/field references for extracting information from the database. One such Superbill was created as an example and is included in the example Med-Center data set. This example may be customized to meet your own office needs by selecting "Tables... Report Templates" and then choosing "Encounter Form" from the template list).

Often, a practice will have a Superbill form defined by a printing service with an area allowed for patient data. The form is then completed at the time of visit by running it through a printer to add the patient information. One medical form company (see http://www.medical-forms.com) provides these forms ready made or customized for your office. All that you would need to do is match the patient print area (created using SuperReports) with the printing service's Superbill form.

Whatever approach suits your needs, Med-Center Superbills can be easily printed before or during a patient visit.

What database engine is used with Med-Center?

The database engine is 4th Dimension from 4D.com.  The engine is fully integrated into each of Database Constructs' products.  When using Med-Center Server version, you will also need to license and activate the 4D Server engine.  This can be done from within the Med-Center Server application by following the instructions provided by 4D.



What version number of 4D is used with Med-Center?

Version 2004.6 from 4D.com is the version used with our current products.  Database Constructs will evaluate new 4D engine releases to assess the benefits of new features and the stability of the release before releasing an upgrade to Med-Center.  All of our application run on Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and Macintosh OSX (both PowerPC & Intel processors).


How does 4D it differ from other database languages such as SQL?

Most database engines provide an environment and a language for development of an application and a back end for data storage & retrieval.  Each approaches their solution differently with related costs and complexity.  As a developer, Database Constructs chose 4D over other databases for its flexibility, scalability, multi-operating system support (PC and Mac), relational structure, and advanced development environment.  There are modules and plug-ins available for use with 4D that allow SQL connections to legacy systems.


Upgrades can be a problem for databases, how is this handled with Med-Center?

Usually, databases that change the structure of the data during upgrades can create inconsistencies and problems.  What Database Constructs does with its upgrades is provide upward compatible translation (i.e., reformatting) automatically when opening the database with the new version.  This is similar to how some word processors work when opening older data files.  So, when an upgrade is downloaded and installed at your site, your existing data seamlessly works with the updated software. 


How difficult is it to transfer patient information from existing systems to Med-Center?

This depends highly on the existence of export utilities in your present system.  Med-Center has an easy-to-use utility for importing tab delimited records.  There is a very detailed technical note that covers the process for importing patient demographics into Med-Center.  See: http://www.databaseconstructs.com/TN_ImportDemog.pdf

 






 

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