MUMPS anyone?

As a kid I got mumps and stayed home from school with swollen glands;  today there is the MMR vaccination for children fortunate to live in developed countries.

I am not writing about the disease though, rather the programming language used to create electronic medical record software, for example: VISTA and EPIC. This is another assignment from my class, Healthcare Informatics – the University of California, Davis.

If you were writing a new Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software solution today, would you use MUMPS, which is admittedly widely deployed?

Those in favor might argue:

  1. MUMPS is the language used by existing EMR deployments from large established EMR vendors,
  2. The MUMPS database does not waste disk space as it uses sparse arrays and B-trees queries are  faster than indexed relational databases.
  3. MUMPS based EMR systems installed today are stable and reliable.

I posit no, because:

  1. Where would you find MUMPS programmers today? Are new college graduates proficient in MUMPS or JAVA/C++ ?
  2. How would you interface with other EMRs today? Interoperability is the one of the biggest challenges between healthcare systems today and creating a new EMR system based on older non-standards approaches will not result in an interoperable system.
  3. Rather than run a MUMPS based system on large monolithic hardware, a new EMR system could be written on distributed highly available hardware.

Of course there is also the option of not writing your own EMR software,  but rather using a Cloud computing EMR solution from vendors such as  AdvancedMD or (my local favourite) Practice Fusion.

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