Friday, July 3, 2015

Still stuck

so... if you were going to spend months getting a new lab information system together, with all sorts of parameters to define and functions to develop, at every level of activity from the secretaries entering in a new patient to the writing up of a rather complicated medical report, passing through every stage in between, you would set aside a few days at the end of that and before the actual changeover to the system to test everything and be sure it worked.

Of course.

And, yeah, we did that. And for a new case we had never seen before, it all works just fine.

But we deal with families, and we still have new members of our very first breast cancer family from 1996 coming in to be tested for their family's mutation. A family is never finished. If you find a mutation, there are new relatives. If you don't find a mutation, there are new genes to look at. Welcome to Genetics, where no file is ever retired.

So duh, we need to import the entire family database. Every person, every person's relationship to the other people in the database, every mutation, every sample.

Just to give you an idea, we have 6800 families. 180,000 people belong to those families. There are more than 21,000 tubes of DNA in the freezers. 500 genetic tests are currently pending, prescribed under the old system, and to be reported in the new.

The database to import so that we can work on these people is big. And it matters that it's done right. So you might think you'd set aside a couple of days and do a test import, to be sure it all works. Nah! It already takes 48 hours to do the transfer - let's not waste any more time.

It was Lori Stoltzfus who told me once that "the fast way is the slow way, and the slow way is the fast way". Excellent advice. 

Two weeks we've been battling with a system that can't handle anything that was started before d-day. Our bad, but did they really expect perfection on the first try? 
A fix should be worked by early next week.
I just hope it -is- a fix.

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