Sunday, August 29, 2010

Healthcare Software Integration Engines are grossly over priced


"Healthcare Software Integration Engines are grossly over priced"
These are not my words. This is an exact quote of a very well recognized healthcare IT professional.
And I fully agree. After all, what's the big deal, Aha? It's just moving fields and attributes from one place to another, change some formats maybe, some XML tricks, database. Really, no big deal, right?

You maybe think to yourself that I'm joking but I'm not. After all, I have developed an HL7 Integration Engine of my own that I'm very proud of, HL7Kit Pro. This little devil is not a show off. It's a tool designed to do one thing - build a two way road, a bridge, between your SQL Server database and HL7. 

In modern design, less is more. When going over the features list of some of these products, I can't avoid the comparison with a 'do it all 149 peaces hardware tool kit' perfect package on TV Shop America.

When shopping for an integration engine it's important to remember that there's always the other road. The one of developing custom interfaces. Good programmers nowadays are not that expensive to hire and the software tools we have today are efficient and easy to use. So when you are facing an integration challenge, you should compare the options and don't get tempted to purchase a multi K$ package bundled with a big unknown figure of expert consultation, maintenance and support fees to feed the monster.

Instead, take the right HL7 tool in your hands and finish the work in no time.

The new 1.3 release of HL7Kit Pro adds hot folders integration. The runtime service can be configured to digest HL7 messages from an inbox folder and write outgoing messages to an Out-box directory.

There's also better support for running multiple HL7 runtime services on a single computer, each using it's own queue.

... And there's many bug fixes and little improvements like the ability to read and write directly from views ...

All in all, the new release is a direct continuation of the old one and that's simply because there's no need for major changes when a tool is doing the work. Simple work, but still work.

Ask every professional: working with quality tools designed for the task is great fun.

To get you started, there are two example projects on the HL7 support page. One for incoming messages and one for outgoing messages that you can download and try with the evaluation copy.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Registry free COM using Side By Side Assemblies

Registry Free COM
Did you know that you don't have to register a COM object in order to use it?
Well, I didn't. Until recently, when I was searching for something in the internet and bumped into this article in the MSDN library.
What this means, to me at least, is that there's no need to register RZDCX and thus it can be used in many applications that require no installation, because, as you know, to register a COM object in the registry you need administrative rights but to run an application from a CD you don't have to.

So, this post is all about using RZDCX.DLL with no installation.
For this purpose, we'll use one of the sample applications, for example the C# example EchoSCUExample.
All the examples with their source code can be downloaded from the DICOM download page.




In order to eliminate the use of registry, we'll create a manifest file for EchoSCUExample.exe and name it EchoSCUExample.exe.manifest

Next, we need to create a manifest file for RZDCX.DLL as well, name it rzdcx.X.manifest and save it in the same folder. Note that this is the manifest of the comming version 2.0.0.0 of RZDCX so some of the interfaces in it are not yet available in version 1.0.1.7 that is currently available on the web site.

Copy all four files (rzdcx.dll, rzdcx.X.manifest, EchoSCUExample.exe and EchoSCUExample.exe.manifest)  to a single directory, unregister RZDCX.DLL (using regsvr32.exe -u rzdcx.dll) so that you are absolutely sure that no registry is involved and double click EchoSCUExample.exe.

Enjoy!