Sunday, January 02, 2011

The "6.5" Thousand Dollar Question

We are extremely fortunate to have three in-house Night-Hawks (not related to Nighthawk or VRC!) who work from 8 P.M. to 8 A.M. on weeknights, and 6 P.M. to 8 A.M. on weekends.  They are very, very sharp, and stand up to the punishing schedule and workload without complaint.  That is, until now:
All, I am fit to be tied. I had to restart my IMPAX workstation 11 times in 12 hours last night because I can't get the work done. All i want to do is my job. I can't with this system. We all know the issue, when you try to read CTs or MR back to back to back the cache seems to be full, then skipping images starts, etc. its worse with large CTA and MRA exams. Plain films are not an issue. This problem is progressive, it gets worse and worse the longer you go before restarting. I got a new error last night, black box with X says "problem downloading images, will attempt to retry". One of the other guys started seeing this same error last week also. I can't get my work done. I refuse to cut corners, though it is tempting to not review the images as I normally would. My nerves are shot.
We have seen this problem minimally before the 6.5 IMPAX upgrade, but several of my partners are now experiencing the laggy scrolling issue on a routine basis.  Interestingly, several of us have never had this happen, leading us to think that the problem lies in some obscure setting in the individuals profiles. 

I'm happy to say that Agfa has been working very intently on this problem, and I have no doubt it will be fixed.  These are truly conscientious people, and they want things to be right.  I'm sure avoiding blog appearances such as this play only a miniscule part in that.  Really.

It does speak, however, to the complexity of the IMPAX client software, that one setting buried deep in someone's profile settings could knock out the function of the workstation.  Here are two clues that our local Agfa technical guru has found, which may help someone in Waterloo get to the heart of the problem. 

First, at one point I had activated the "Display Pointer Trails" option, which leaves a trail of little cursors to help us old folks figure out where we are on the screen.  At about the same time, IMPAX started to balk at scrolling color images from PET/CT's displayed on the third monitor.  We turned off the trails, and things went back to normal. 

Secondly, I noticed one day that the cursor would not move properly across one of the Barco monitors.  The fix here was to adjust hardware accelleration for that particular monitor.

Subtle clues, yes, but the answer is in there somewhere.  I'm thinking there is some nasty glitch that doesn't play well with video display, which is a major problem given the fact that this business is all about video display!

Again, I'm sure Agfa will fix this problem.  I wonder why it didn't show up in the testing phase...

EPILOGUE

A followup from the 'Hawk in question:
I am happy to report that our PACS Goddess reset my profile last night and has continued to help me rebuild on the fly. The issue with scrolling and skipping has resolved. Looks like this whole time "the profile" was the problem. I worked through last night with no forced restarts or other related issues.   I am very grateful to have my old life back. Thank you all!
Another crisis resolved.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

These smell remarkably like video driver problems.

Anonymous said...

Agfa has a tool to backup/restore user profiles. It's automated; you just configure it and schedule it to run daily/weekly/monthly(whatever) on one of the Application servers. That way, when things do go bad you can restore back to a previous copy of the profile. My site keeps 30 days of profiles because sometimes you don't know right away that something has gotten corrupted.

This doesn't resolve the user corruption issue but it should help mitigate it until Agfa finds a fix...

Anonymous said...

Bring out the debug logs!

Anonymous said...

Is the user profile backup tool the one that runs on the app servers to backup the ADAM settings, or is there something else beyond that?