Today's Best-of-the-Sidebar was originally posted by "aikimark."

When I asked the tech from the bone density scanner company about the poor performace of their software, they replied with "we're not a software company." I'm glad we were listening on a speaker phone, because I have witnesses to that statement. What refreshing honesty! Of course, I didn't disagree.

An illustration of their product's inefficiencies was their creation of a quality control (QC) extract. My client called me that the QC extract process was taking so long to complete (several hours) that they had to stop the process in order to resume patient scanning or end-of-day operations. I looked at the process and discovered that it was the following:

  1. copy the MSAccess97 database (around 90MB), including tables they didn't need
  2. loop through the records in every table, deleting the non-QC data

This was clearly a WTF condition. Not only did the process run way too long, but most of the data in the copy of the MSAccess97 database (90MB) was patient data that would be deleted in step two. I don't want to think about the possible HIPAA violations.

I created my own solution that runs in about 20-40 seconds resulting in a 1.8MB database that only contains the QC data. The user is quite happy. They can almost fit the QC database on a regular floppy disk.

My solution:

  1. make a copy of empty template database, containing only the four tables with QC data
  2. attach the tables of this database copy
  3. execute four Insert SQL statements to append just the QC data
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