Clearing the Release Log Jam

With the majority of states using a version of the NBS that is almost a year old, InductiveHealth’s Director of Professional Services, Stephen Macauley, recently sat down for a Q & A on how states can clear the release log jam.

How would you describe the NBS release landscape?

Complicated. With the release of 4.4.1 in January, most NBS states are now faced with sun setting Sun One Directory Server (4.4.1), the retirement of eWebIT(4.4), and upgrading of Operating Systems and Relational Databases (4.4.1). Simultaneously, states are having to respond to attestation requests for Meaningful Use, onboard reference laboratories, and participate in other state and federal initiatives.

Why do we have a release log jam?

Each recent release of the NBS impacts a critical part of the NBS architecture — 4.4.1 changes how user profiles are stored along with changing to a 64 Bit architecture whereas 4.4 changes how ELRs are consumed into the NBS. These releases are also cumulative in nature so you cannot move to 4.4.1 without first addressing the retirement of eWebIT. States have every reason to move slowly given problems encountered with these releases can render the NBS unusable. If even for just a few days, it would be catastrophic for a state to not process electronic laboratory reports.

Everyone has to remember that upgrading the NBS is not the primary job duty of state resources involved in the NEDSS initiative. These resources have to focus on their day jobs of monitoring and improving the health of their citizens.

What advice do you have for states in moving forward?

Simple — build and document a state specific release roadmap. Specifically, define the state’s capacity to implement major releases, determine the order of implementation based on business value, and determine what will happen when things go wrong. No state’s implementation plan will be the same, but each state should have a plan. Given the complexity of the NBS and the high cost to remediate data, plan for the worse and hope for the best.

Inversely, what should states not do to clear the log jam?

Rush. If your end users are satisfied with the current version of the NBS, why rush into something that may upset them. Remember, within each state only one or two technical administrators know the nuts and bolts of the NBS. However, hundreds of end users know they rely on the NBS every day to perform their job duties.

How can InductiveHealth help?

Our capabilities serve as accelerators for states clearing the release log jam. For example, our free trial offering provides states with a safe environment to evaluate new releases before even bringing them into their own environments. This a huge time saver thereby reducing the overall cost of implementing a new release.

Continue the dialogue with Stephen at stephen@inductivehealth.com.