Monday, April 23, 2007


Never let it be said that whining doesn't get you somewhere. We complained, and Agfa listened (to a significant degree, anyway). As noted in the sign-on screen above, our Agfa site bumped up to version (6.2 for short) from 6.0.x over the weekend. The upgrade went without a hitch. Well, that was my view, because I'm on vacation, and no one bothered me! I'm told there were some problems here and there, causing the install to be completed at about 4AM this morning, instead of the anticipated 8 or 9 PM last night. Something with Oracle, I hear. (IT folks are rather like doctors. If you come in with some weird disease, it somehow is always due to a virus. A problem with Impax somehow always relates to Oracle. Personally, I would prefer the Oracle from the movie "300" but she might not prove quite as operational as what we now have. I digress....) To add insult to injury, something happened to the power at the data center this morning, and shut the darn thing down again, but that was NOT the fault of Oracle, as near as anyone can tell. I find it interesting that someone on the team was checking my blog at 1AM this morning to see if I had said something bad about them yet. Who, me???

Not counting some patches and service upgrades, this is the first major revision we have had in the six months since go-live with Impax 6. I have a list of the 113 things that were changed, but I'll spare you the joys of reading that. Let's just concentrate on what directly affects me, the target audience (at least that's how the folks from Waterloo explained the requirement of affixing a big red bull's-eye on my back...)

The single greatest accomplishment as far as I'm concerned is the reintroduction of the "simple search" for "simple-minded radiologists." Instead of the incredibly powerful but incredibly obtuse "advanced search", the easy version lets me drill down quickly to what I need. The Agfa folks were absolutely flabbergasted that we end up searching by the patient's name about 90% of the time. Well, now I can do that without going through the gawd-awful drop down menu of 100 different criteria. Unless I really want to, that is, because the advanced search is still available. See? An easy solution! Here is how it looks today (compact and expanded'll have to click them to see everything):

The list of improvements goes on for 112 other items, give or take. I do think there are some duplicates on the list, for what that's worth. Some of the other highlights include:

  • Available Series Tray is now embedded based on User configuration. It was previously stuck at the left side.
  • Hotkeys should now "stick", and not be erased after logout.
  • Various causes of crashes have been eliminated.
  • Cursor mode line now upgrades in orthogonal views.
  • Should be able to open larger number of studies without slowdown.
  • There is now permission to configure one's own station (and take back some RAM!!)
  • New/upgraded versions of the client will download automatically when the new version is recognized.
  • Column changes in Worklists are immediately saved, and applied to ALL worklists (hopefully that's what we wanted..)
  • The automatic brightening and dimming of the Prior list is shut off.

Now, here are some of my pet peeves that are not yet fixed:

  • Handling of two rads trying to dictate the same study. There is a temporary fix with a warning message, but an insistent rad can still override the settings.
  • No easy way to get back to the last study that was on the screen. Yes, there is a somewhat hidden "history" tool, but it only works on studies that have been clicked off as dictated.
  • Spine labelling. There isn't any.
  • Voxar button still stays active, leading to repeated activation of Voxar3D when you were just trying to get back to the original study.
  • Comparison windows still based on the cloning concept.
  • Black screen when images of a series are loading.
  • Thumbnails in the Series window can be easily, inadvertantly resized, to the point of being unusable.

I could go on. 6.2.1.x represents a significant improvement, at the very least many glitches have indeed been fixed. The underlying philosophy of the program remains what it was, however, and that is something the potential buyer should be very, very comfortable with before, well, potentially buying Impax 6.

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