David Hallberg

Chart Servers—Part 1: Chart Request Table Dishes up a Feast of Data

Today I want to begin a short series on chart servers by introducing you to a table that many Millennium® users are unaware of: the Chart Request Table. This table dishes up a lot of information about how your chart servers are performing—particularly how long it takes the servers to process chart prints—so it’s important to know how to access the information, understand what it’s telling you and correct performance issues.

With all the other issues you need to manage in a day, you might be asking, “Why does it matter how long the chart print takes?” In a nutshell, chart prints are used to treat patients. Printing delays could mean a clinician does not have the latest information on the patient being treated. Waits of more than an hour for a larger chart to print are not uncommon. And a delay in printing one chart slows down all the other chart requests queued up behind it. With Expedite and Ad Hoc chart requests in particular, this lack of information has the potential to compromise patient care and it opens the organization to liability concerns.

I have found an enormous spread among clients on how long it takes to print charts. Some clients can process a page in 1 second, and others take more than 2 minutes to generate a single page. A 2-page chart that requires 2 minutes to process each page stays in the chart server for 4 minutes before being sent to the print server and finally the printer. At this rate, a 50-page chart takes the chart server 100 minutes—or more than an hour and a half—to complete the generation of a single chart request. That same chart, if sent to a well-tuned chart server processing at 1 page a second, would be sent to the print server in less than 1 minute.

I understand that your time, money and staff are limited. But access and analysis of chart server performance details can be done in minutes, and a skilled technician can correct slow servers in a few hours. It starts by accessing the Chart Request Table and exporting the data to a spreadsheet for analysis. Using this information to then reset your slower chart servers to match the fastest one will dramatically improve the clinically perceived speed of Millennium, reduce end-user frustration and quite possibly improve the quality of the delivered care. Click here for the step-by-step process.

And then keep your eye out for upcoming blogs, in which we’ll:

  1. Examine the implication of other pertinent data contained in the Chart Request Table—in particular, the servers’ print quantity.
  2. Dig deeper into Windows tuning techniques of the chart server that will reap even larger rewards for your clinicians.

Prognosis: Knowing which chart server or group of chart servers is fastest and getting all of the chart servers to perform at the same level can improve clinical end-users’ acceptance of Millennium and potentially some patient outcomes.