The Touro Infirmary
The Touro Infirmary Hospital Intranet Portal
"...the addition of Iron Speed Designer to our development toolkit saved us
thousands of dollars, and countless hours in time from design to deployment."

- William Dotson of Touro Infirmary

The Touro Infirmary Hospital Intranet Portal

The Touro Infirmary
New Orleans, LA USA

Founded in 1852, The Touro Infirmary is New Orleans' only community-based, not-for-profit faith-based hospital.

"For more than 150 years, Touro has been in the vanguard of medical excellence. As one of New Orleans' most enduring monuments, Touro Infirmary stands for stability. Tens of thousands of babies have been born here, and we've treated more than a million people. Our modern facilities utilize the latest technology. Touro is known for its quality and excellence."

So far, Touro Infirmary has developed more than six different applications with Iron Speed Designer, including:

Online Surgery Schedule

The web-based Online Surgery Schedule is a critical clinical information sharing application utilized by virtually everyone associated with providing services to patients having surgery. This application provides cost and time savings by reducing the need to continually print updated schedules, and it nearly eliminates the time it takes to fax or hand deliver paper copies of the schedule. This application uses Iron Speed Designer data access components for displaying information from the scheduling module of the Picis OR Management System ( coupled with a user interface developed in Microsoft Visual Basic.Net We benefited from Iron Speed Designer's ability to provide simplified, customizable data access.

Capital Budget System

The web-based Capital Budget System is a highly visible enterprise class critical business application for the management team. This application re-engineered, streamlined, and functionally improved the capital budgeting process by eliminating many functional drawbacks of its predecessor, a desktop-based (Microsoft Access) application that required intensive manual processing and maintenance in order to function.

Facilities Whiteboard

The web-based Facilities Whiteboard application is a critical project management application used 24x7 by everyone in the Facilities Services department. This application saves time and improves communication by eliminating the need to actually write project information on a whiteboard for relay to evening staff. The application also reduces work scheduling conflicts since all project and update information is at the user's fingertips. The application can be accessed by any staff member of Facilities Services from any intranet connected PC in the enterprise. The application features several different reports that are supported by an Active Server integration of Crystal Reports Enterprise Services.

eLearning Scheduling & Tracking System

The web-based eLearning Scheduling & Tracking System is a highly visible enterprise-class Education Compliance application used by virtually everyone in the organization. The application provides the capability to develop courses and curriculums for various staff education initiatives, and automatically creates student (employee) schedules of courses to be taken, and transcripts of courses completed.

Nextel Phone Tracking System

In less than 30 minutes, this simple two-page application was developed and deployed to support the inventory management and tracking of Nextel phones used within the organization.

Application size and scope

All of our applications are used enterprise-wide or by entire departments within the hospital. These applications are all built on a variety of Microsoft Access and Microsoft SQL Server 2000 databases, and the number of records in these databases range from 80 to 6,300 records. These applications display a combined total of 45 web pages.

Online Surgery Schedule Microsoft SQL Server, 1 SQL Server, 2 Databases, 7 Tables, also has Caching
Capital Budget System Microsoft Access, 2 Databases, 15 Tables, 3 Queries
Facilities Whiteboard Microsoft Access, 1 Database, 10 Tables, 2 Queries
Nextel Phone Database Microsoft Access, 1 Database, 2 Tables
eLearning Scheduling & Tracking System Microsoft SQL Server, 2 SQL Servers, 3 Databases, 17 Tables, 3 Views, and 2 Stored Procedures

The project

All these Intranet Portal projects were completed in six months. I led the architectural direction, design, development and implementation of our intranet portal, focused on building and supporting a high performance, paperless web-based environment. Either through off-the-self systems or internal development, we needed to deliver business- and service-critical, enterprise class, web-based solutions that integrate information from disparate systems.

Since the intranet portal project was a new initiative, we had a number of factors to consider, including: strategic planning, development of policy and standards, SDLC methodologies and tool selection, resource management, knowledge management, architecture and infrastructure planning and management, quality management, information security management, business process re-engineering, data warehousing, modeling, interfacing, network security, and database design and management. All were integral parts of the puzzle that I had to seamlessly assemble. This perpetual project called upon all my technical expertise of more than fifteen years of comprehensive broad-based technical and project management experience. The project required the ability to clearly define project goals, specifications, deliverables, and communicate objectives to inter-disciplinary and cross-functional teams, and to effectively use resources to develop and drive the project to successful completion.

I did not track the time it took to do different parts of these projects in Iron Speed Designer versus the work done with other tools. This was largely due to the fact that there were several other projects simultaneously in development. However, from experience, I estimate that 40% of the work to get our portal where it is today was done in Iron Speed Designer, which decreased raw coding times by approximately 75%.

Code extensions and customizations

Most of our applications utilize Iron Speed Designer's role-based security. As might be expected in a medical environment, data security is very important.

The amount of code customization ranged from none to a fair amount, depending on the specific project. For example, we implemented code-behind changes to achieve specific results as needed, and we used Crystal Reports components to provide reporting capabilities. We also used filtering and data-validation code extensions as needed.

Page layout customizations

Only a few simple page customizations were implemented where required to accommodate end-user requests for visual changes or to show on-screen reports.

The Online Surgery Schedule application's user interface design required customizations beyond the Iron Speed Designer-provided design themes (which are great!). The application also required caching abilities on some screens.

Metrics for success

Since our goal is to have a paperless web-based environment, we benefit through increased service levels. Moreover, Iron Speed Designer drastically improved the SDLC (System Development Life Cycle) of our projects, thereby increasing the RAD (rapid application development) capacity to improve the JAD (Joint Application Development) process since Iron Speed Designer provides the ability to develop a prototype on the fly (assuming the application data structure is in place).

Iron Speed Designer impact

With tight deadlines and the limited resources of Microsoft Visual Basic .Net and Microsoft FrontPage, the internal development solution process was long and tedious. However the addition of Iron Speed Designer to our development toolkit saved us thousands of dollars, and countless hours in time from design to deployment.

Next steps

Although other tools are used to design some project solutions, Iron Speed Designer has become my tool of choice and the standard for developing our data-driven web-based applications, especially because its applications can be customized with Microsoft Visual Studio and integrated into other systems. The applications discussed here are just a few of the things I have done with Iron Speed Designer.

Since the overall development of our intranet portal is a perpetual initiative, I plan to develop all new data-driven applications on the .NET Framework using Iron Speed Designer as much as possible. Furthermore, I plan to migrate the portal's entire database platform from Microsoft Access to Microsoft SQL Server to increase dynamic data functionality thereby increasing the use of SQL stored procedures.

About the developer

William Dotson has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University Of New Orleans and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from Southern University in New Orleans. He has over 15 years of Information Technology experience, including five years of broad-based management in systems design, development, implementation, and support.

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