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Using the Nursing Productivity Pak With a Network

The NPP 1.99 Network Version uses Filemaker Pro 4.1 and is compatible with ODBC. Users can import data from ODBC data sources like Oracle, SQL Server, Access, Excel, etc.

There are third-party and do-it-yourself solutions that make the sharing of data between databases possible. A couple of examples include:

Third Party ODBC Driver: http://www.frontbase.fi/products/fbsql/index.php4

Royalty-free ODBC Source Code: http://www.syware.com/products/odbc_driver_kit.php?gclid=CKXejIrY0pUCFQNLgwodNTBniQ

Although the NPP can be used in this manner, it is primarily intended for customized use on individual floors/units, e.g. a Rehab. unit enters its own room numbers, physicians, nurses, terminology, staffing formulas, acuity definitions, etc. etc.. This is the NPP's great strength. Formulas for staffing and grading acuity are individualized for each unit. Staff information is entered just once. Patient info is added as admits arrive.

There is relatively little advantage to centralizing the NPP's functions and data over a network, which is why I have not developed that functionality beyond what is natively allowed by the Filemaker database engine.

Networking the Nursing Productivity Pak is possible, but I strongly urge you to use the expertise of an IT specialist to help you set up and maintain your system - it will save you a lot of time and frustration.

Much of what follows, applies to both Windows and the Mac operating systems.

Runtime versus Network Versions of the Nursing Productivity Pak

The Nursing Productivity Pak is available in "Runtime" or "Network" versions. The "runtime" application does not require the installation of the FileMaker Pro application. However, end users cannot access solution files over a network using the runtime application, since it does not support peer-to-peer or client/server networking.

In order to use The Nursing Productivity Pak over a network, you will need the "Network Version" of The Nursing Productivity Pak and an individually licensed copy of FileMaker Pro 4.0 or later on each computer which is to have access to The Nursing Productivity Pak. 

The working files (found in C:\ezrecord) of the NPP are saved in Filemaker 4.0. However, if you have a newer version, such as Filemaker Pro 5, 7 or 9, you will need to open each file from inside, say, Filemaker Pro 7 and allow it to convert and rename the files. All the "working files" currently have an ".FP3" file extension. The new version will rename the original file to "start old.fp3" and then convert it to the new version, renaming it "start.fp7". Manually open each file that now ends with ".fp3", allow the new Filemaker to rename the old file and convert it. All your working files will now have an ".fp7" file extension (or whatever version you are using). When you open the NPP with the new "START.FP7", all the working files will be seen and able to interact. The files you will need to convert are: START.FP3, MAINMENU.FP3, WORKSHEETS.FP3, PATIENTS.FP3, STAFF.FP3, TodaysStaff.fp3, Selfmed.fp3, Patientssmg.fp3, Pastpatients.fp3, Pastassign.fp3, Medinfo.fp3, Instruct.fp3, Census.fp3, Calendar.fp3 .

Networking a Small Group

The Nursing Productivity Pak uses the FileMaker Pro database engine application and so all the technical aspects of networking The Nursing Productivity Pak refer to the networking capabilities of FileMaker Pro.

If you have purchased the Nursing Productivity Pak and you already have your computers on a network, then you should be able to get up and running without any difficulty.

You will need a licenced copy of FileMaker Pro 4.0 or later installed on each computer and one of these computers selected to 'host' the Nursing Productivity Pak files - the Nursing Productivity Pak files only go on this host computer, but the FileMaker Pro application goes on all. Ideally the host computer should not be doing any other task as performance will suffer; i.e. dedicate this computer to being your host server, ensure that it has a UPS supporting it, adequate backup hardware, software, and procedures in place, and not being used as an everyday workstation by one of the users.

The communication protocol, either IPX or TCP/IP, should be selected the same for FileMaker on each computer – (this is done in FileMaker, Edit, Preferences).

Once the network is in place and the computers can 'see' each other on the network, it is possible to start the Nursing Productivity Pak program from any of the computers – the first computer to start the Nursing Productivity Pak automatically becomes the 'host' of the Nursing Productivity Pak files, even if those files don't reside on it. This is why it's important to start the Nursing Productivity Pak on the computer you've dedicated to be the host, and the only computer that you've loaded the Nursing Productivity Pak files onto - the Nursing Productivity Pak must only be loaded onto one computer on a network. So, first start the Nursing Productivity Pak on the 'host', and then, on each of the other computers, start FileMaker Pro, click on Files, Open, and clicking on 'Host' should present you with the Nursing Productivity Pak suite of files - click on ‘START.FP3' which is the start-up file for Nursing Productivity Pak.

Do not create Shortcuts or Aliases to any of the Nursing Productivity Pak files as problems are likely to result.

Do not in any way rename any of the Nursing Productivity Pak suite of files, or delete or move a file away from the group - opening a file in the absence of the rest of the complete group will cause file corruption on opening.

Networking a larger Group

For even better performance, particularly with more than five or six users, we recommend purchase of the FileMaker Pro Server. This product is specialized to serve as many as 100 users simultaneously.

File Sharing

File sharing must NOT be turned on for the Nursing Productivity Pak files. The FileMaker Pro database engine looks after multiuser file sharing and enabling file sharing in the Windows or Mac operating system degrades performance.

Multi-platform Networks

Yes, you can mix Windows and Macs on the same network. Any computer will communicate with the Nursing Productivity Pak files so long as it can "see" the host computer. For multi-platform networks you must use either TCP/IP or IPX protocols.

Issues to Watch Out For

1. Use of the operating system network capabilities to attempt to access files rather than using the FMP Hosts procedure. 

2. Backing up files while they are still open - don't. Close the files and then initiate the backup.

3. Never rename any of the solution files or open one of the files away (in another folder or otherwise in isolation) from the rest of the solution files. Permanent damage to the files will result. (As mentioned in the "Runtime vs. Network Version" paragraph above, an exception to this "rule" is when you are using a newer version of Filemaker Pro above 4.0 and the program will keep the filename the same, while changing the file extension to the new version.)



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