In order to bring back the clinical information system's downtime to an acceptable level, the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth in London has amputated its ten year old Unix server environment. The system has been replaced by a PC based network running on a Windows NT platform. This radical decision has been quickened by the necessity to change legacy non compliant hardware and software.
Before the installation of the new equipment, system fall outs each month hampered the normal hospital routine for three long days. The introduction of an alternative server system has reduced the possible inconveniences to a much shorter period of time.
The previous Unix Mips server supporting line of business applications and 40 dumb terminals have been parted with in favour of a Compaq Alpha 5300 data server running Microsoft Soft Query Language (SQL) 7 and two Compaq 1600 departmental servers with Windows NT Terminal Server Edition. This system is connected to a range of thin client PCs.
In addition, the new iSoft2000 patient and hospital management system has substituted the legacy administration software. Richard Dryden, the hospital IT manager, initially refused the offer of a Unix based system running Oracle after having performed a detailed cost and risk assessment. Nonetheless, he is still fostering doubts about the relatively immature SQL 7 database.
Dryden acknowledged the risks of being the early adopter of a new system but also recognized the privileges. Future experiences will no doubt reveal all the existing strengths and weaknesses of the experimental platform. In any case, the hospital IT manager has questioned Microsoft's recent u-turn over the millennium compliance status of NT.
After the initial statement that NT4 was compliant with Service Pack 3 (SP3), Microsoft has suddenly drawn back this conviction in order to tell customers that they probably will need SP4.