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Frequently Asked Questions

Additional information can be found in the MAINSOURCE Technical White Paper.



Who is MAINSOURCE?

The MAINSOURCE Software Corporation specializes in the development of Next Generation high-performance, production-class Content Management software products. Utilizing state of the art technologies such as object databases, transaction processors and distributed client-server configurations over the Internet, our solutions are particularly suited for markets that need to deliver large volumes of secure multimedia content, such as Healthcare, Home Entertainment and Law Enforcement.

Utilizing our Application Programming Interface, the product suite can easily integrate with new and existing record oriented applications to simplify storing, indexing, linking, retrieving and presenting massive amounts of complex data such as voice, video, images and any other data type.

By implementing MAINSOURCE's advanced information management platform, today's business managers can feel secure that they are building an enterprise-wide, reliable management system that protects a corporation's most vital asset - it's ever increasingly complex corporate data.

The Next Step in Information Management

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What does MAINSOURCE bring to the healthcare market?

MAINSOURCE Software Corporation specializes in the development of web-based products for healthcare information management. Our unique product architecture provides unmatched scalability and an unlimited capacity while streamlining management of healthcare information over the web. Specifically, the MAINSOURCE approach represents the first time that object database techniques have been applied in any consistent, scalable manner to the internet, and promises to revolutionize the way healthcare information is managed and delivered.

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How does MAINsuite make sure that healthcare information is secure?

When it comes to healthcare information, security and trust is imperative. MAINsuite provides a robust, flexible, and comprehensive security system for all clinical content. It enables information to be organized in a page-document-folder hierarchy, and implements security at the object level. User profiles are defined within the system as data objects, exactly like clinical data, and MAINsuite controls access through a combination of user objects and data objects attributes. There is no 'backdoor' past this security layer; MAINsuite security features are a layer on top of the running network and operating system layer, thereby leaving the 'system level' security features intact.

Designed to handle thousands of simultaneous users, an administration utility provides a grouping capability allowing one or more roles to be established for each user. This utility assigns privileges, access rights and other parameters.

In addition, the MAINsuite API (Application Programming Interface) provides programmatic access to the user profile enabling applications to tailor their functionality as well as manipulate data object attributes according to the security rules.

As further evidence of the robust data security and control, MAINsuite provides version control of objects, such that a user's privileges will control access to current version of a data object, or a previous one. In addition, a check-in / check-out capability manages cases where healthcare data is requested by a user to be updated. While the original data is checked-out, all other subsequent requests for that particular object will present a read only version.

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Our institution wants to allow individuals view their health information from their home. Does MAINsuite scale to support large numbers of users and data?

MAINsuite has been built from the ground up to grow to support an enterprise implementation. When web-based applications are made available to the public, potentially hundreds of users can simultaneously request access to complex (large) object types. A scalable architecture is needed to prevent network bottlenecks, disk access contention, and other issues.

MAINsuite solves these problems through the use of a centralized Information Server combined with distributed Data Servers. The basic premise is that the management of the information objects (Information Server) is distinct from the actual objects themselves (Data Server). A transaction processing architecture is used to manage high volume requests to the Information Server and Data Servers. In addition, MAINsuite provides transparent support for multiple copies of a complex object data, distributed across the network, close to users, thus limiting network traffic.

In short, the MAINsuite architecture supports the scalability goal by allowing the addition of Data Servers as the number of users and healthcare data volumes increases, and by utilizing a transaction processing based Information Server.

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How does MAINsuite help people to access their own healthcare information?

The MAINsuite product family enables healthcare institutions to create secure, scalable applications for accessing clinical information over the web. MAINsuite enables new connections with patients themselves, since it works over the Internet and firewalls. Furthermore, MAINsuite's robust security and control means that each individual gets a personalized view of the data - so they see only what they should see.

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Does MAINsuite require a special Web browser or Web server to access information?

No changes need to be made to either the browser or a Web server. The MAINgateway™ product interfaces the Web server to the MAINsuite repository.

MAINgateway operates as the gateway between a web server, applications and either the MAINenterprise or MAINlite products, and provides for operation within Intranet/Extranet environments. MAINgateway features include state management, support for OS specific security features, intelligent management of network traffic based on MAINsuite's "Level 7 information switch", dynamic caching, and the ability to deliver complex data in MIME, HTML and XML formats.

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How can MAINsuite integrate our hospital's multi-vendor systems into a consolidated patient record solution?

The key to the MAINsuite integration capabilities of MAINsuite come from the use of logical references called MAINsuite Tags. Use of logical referenced content is what gives MAINSOURCE the unique ability to manage, using structured database techniques, any type of data across any type of data server or storage device connected to the internet. Through use of the MAINsuite Tag, the capabilities of MAINSOURCE can be seamlessly integrated into third party applications.

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Do we have to translate all our hospital data into a "MAINsuite" format?

With MAINsuite, all objects are maintained in their native form; they are not altered in any manner. When an data object is requested by a client service, desktop or application, the object is retrieved and presented to that service which knows what methods can be applied to that particular object. For example, a patient record application might request HL7 content, radiology images, tabular data from a relational database, and scanned images of a doctor's notes. Through the browser, users can also launch native applications, such as a radiology viewer, to support advanced viewing and annotating operations.

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What is the difference between MAINsuite™, MAINenterprise™ and MAINlite?

MAINsuite is the name of the MAINSOURCE product family, based on the advanced object database software kernel that establishes the common characteristics of all the products we offer. MAINenterprise™ is the enterprise-wide version of the software allowing for a distributed solution through multiple Data Servers and Information Switches. MAINlite is the departmental solution with a single Data Server and Information Switch.

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We want to integrate our hospital's departmental systems. Will it work over the hospital Intranet?

Yes. The MAINsuite product family can function in any network environment that allows the establishment of inter-process communication such as IP and ISO-based networks.

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We want to share clinical information with other hospitals over the Internet. Can MAINsuite work through a firewall?

Yes. All functionality occurs at the application layer, independent of physical or network issues.

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Does MAINsuite use proprietary interfaces and data formats that will lock my hospital in to your solution?

The MAINsuite product architecture is built around the use of open standards for both data formats and interfaces to protect our client's investment in information technology. That includes transparent handling of client data types and a built-in API (Application Programming Interface) to integrate healthcare applications, and customer built applications into seamless solutions.

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Our hospital has a number of existing electronic patient record management systems. Will MAINSOURCE product work with these applications?

MAINsuite can work with an existing system to augment its web capabilities, or it can be used to produce an enhanced clinical document management solution by its unique approach to integrating external information sources into a comprehensive, transparent, information repository.

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What storage devices does MAINsuite work with?

The repository supports an unlimited storage capacity composed of virtually any type of storage device including disk drives, tape silos and optical jukeboxes. All information is handled logically from the application's perspective such that end-users and developers do not have to concern themselves about physical storage issues.

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How does the MAINSOURCE technology differ from SGML and XML?

Both SGML and XML are content encoding methods. MAINsuite can manage clinical content in any format, including SGML and XML, extending the potential of those encoding standards to deliver secure, distributed, high-end solutions.

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What data storage technology does MAINsuite used to manage information?

MAINsuite uses a number of unique technologies to store and manage complex multimedia information.

At its core, MAINsuite uses an object database for content storage. An object database is designed around the Object Oriented programming model, whereby the stored data has self-knowledge of what it is and what things can be done to it such as creation, modification, deletion and viewing. It was developed to more closely approximate how we deal with real things, hence objects.

Also central to the benefits of MAINsuite is the "MAINsuite Tag", which represents data as a logical reference. Use of logical referenced content is what gives MAINsuite the unique ability to manage any type of data across any type of data server or storage device connected to the internet, using structured database techniques.

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Can the MAINsuite repository hold multimedia data types like video, dictaphone recordings, and diagnostic images?

Yes. Any type of digital data can be placed in the repository as a data object.

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What's the need for the MAINsuite repository, since most current relational database products handle multimedia types now?

Conventional relational databases, although capable of handling so-called BLOB (Binary Large Object) or other non-tabular data, have not been optimized for storing, distributing and organizing complex clinical data. This results in inadequate performance and more costly, less flexible solutions. This is especially true of networks of regional hospital information systems that require advanced approaches to address scalability and reliability.

Additionally, our object database approach to managing complex data provides healthcare applications with an easy to use platform that uniquely organizes, secures and transparently distributes the information with many features and benefits beyond traditional relational database technology.

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Object databases aren't known for delivering large, high performance healthcare information systems. What can I expect from your product?

Being able to support high-end production class healthcare applications was the critical design criteria considered in the development of the portable software kernel. All aspects of the architecture revolve around optimizing performance resulting in a minimum database overhead and limiting performance issues to the network capacity used to move the larger BLOB data types. Network capacity issues are addressed by network configuration and our leading edge distributed data architecture.

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What are the MAINsuite "Level 7 Information Switches", and how do they apply to healthcare information?

The Level 7 Information Switches act as intelligent 'content selectors', identifying the most appropriate source of the requested clinical information managed by the object repository. The data is retrieved from one or more Data Servers, using a variety of selection criteria - such as the requestor's access privileges, language, location, line speed, preferred graphic density, display device, and source data format.

For example, this means that a patient might retrieve a small GIF image of their EMR scan, while a doctor would get a much larger proprietary EMR image file, suitable for further manipulation in an advanced viewing applet.

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