Our Agfa IMPAX 6.5 failed for over three hours this past weekend, and that’s not the first time that’s happened. This sent the three hospitals it services into complete pandemonium, as you might expect. At the moment, there is no hardware disaster recovery option. Hopefully, this will be implemented…eventually.
Fortunately, I was not on call when this little disaster occurred, but I certainly heard about it. To this point, we don’t know quite what went wrong, but bouncing the servers seemed to fix it.
I guess we should be quite grateful, as the IMPAX installation in Western Australia continues to misbehave. I’ve received no word from Agfa as to why they think this might be happening, nor when it will be fixed Personally, I would hesitate to buy anything new until I knew the answers to these questions.
I have to contrast the IMPAX experience with our other hospital (and our group-owned system) that uses
AMICAS Merge PACS. Merge (I still have some trouble with the concept) is a simpler product, using Windows Server and SQL databases instead of the supposedly more robust Oracle and Unix boxes galore. But it is much more stable. We’ve had perhaps two or three hours total unplanned downtime in the past 8 years.
PACS is not rocket science. It is simply a database of images and associated text. But the images are rather large, and have MEDICAL stamped on them, and thus has grown the culture of complex, expensive, and cantankerous big iron systems.
Most of the next generation of PACS are not a whole lot more than web-servers and associated databases. In this manner, they are robust, (relatively) simple, and while not quite bullet-proof, they have fewer points of failure, and are more easily maintained.
Could it be that the legacy designs are so complex that there is no way to avoid failure? I have to wonder…