Downloading and Importing Results


This topic deals with the transfer of Investigations Result data from your provider to your computer and ultimately, MedicalDirector Clinical. In respect to MedicalDirector Clinical Investigations, it is important that you understand two concepts;

o       Downloading. This term refers to the process by which Investigations result data is transmitted electronically from your Provider (the laboratory) to your computer system. The process involves third-party software, which periodically connects to the laboratory (for example, via your Internet connection) to check for new Results data and download it.

It is important to understand that MedicalDirector Clinical itself does not communicate directly with your laboratories. Rather, MedicalDirector Clinical merely imports the data that the third-party software has already downloaded. Having said this, MedicalDirector Clinical is capable of activating the third-party software and having it initiate a download of new Results data.


o       Importing. This refers to the actual importing of new Results data that has been downloaded, to MedicalDirector Clinical. Whilst such data is imported by MedicalDirector Clinical, it is not automatically associated with any particular patient(s), until it is manually examined.



Downloading Data

Downloading data from one computer system to another requires a physical connection between the two systems and a common communication protocol (language). When the data is of a sensitive nature (such as with Investigations Results), it is common practice to implement an encryption/decryption system for data protection. The installation and maintenance of this software is the responsibility of the Investigations Results Provider.

o       Connection - In most situations the physical connection between the two systems is established via an Internet connection, although some systems may still make use of dial-up modems.

o       Communication - Regardless of how the systems are physically connected, a common communication protocol must be established between the two. Use of a modem normally requires that communications software provide this service. This is software that you (or a technician) installs on your computer.

o       Encryption - To protect data from third parties, an encoding system is utilised. The data is encoded (encrypted) before being sent and decoded (decrypted) by the recipient using a key (code).


Your third-party provider's downloading software needs to have been installed and operational, independent of MedicalDirector Clinical, before it can be used with MedicalDirector Clinical.

It must be capable of making a connection with the laboratory, downloading the result files, decrypting the files and saving them to your computer, ready for importing into MedicalDirector Clinical.

Result files must comply with either of two pre-defined industry standard formats; PIT and HL7



Your Responsibilities

It is your responsibility to provide a system for transferring (downloading) the results to your computer and to protect your data by some form of encryption. This may involve the purchase of the hardware required to make the connection (a modem, for example) together with software supplied and configured by your laboratory. Some laboratories develop proprietary systems (including software). Some provide their own support technicians to assist you.

Once the third-party system is operational, MedicalDirector Clinical can be configured to call or control such systems in order to help automate the management of Investigations results.

Contact your provider to arrange for the installation of their download system (including decryption) to be installed at your clinic. Ensure you inform your provider(s) that the system is to be used with MedicalDirector Clinical.

Multiple download systems can be installed for accessing data from several providers. MedicalDirector Clinical can easily be configured to operate with several systems.




Configuring MedicalDirector Clinical

Once a compatible third-party download system has been setup on your computer(s), you will need to configure MedicalDirector Clinical in order to take advantage of it.

You will require the following information:

o       The Name and Address details of the Investigations provider: Ensure your laboratory is listed in the MedicalDirector Clinical Address Book, and that they have the appropriate category recorded against them; either Pathology or Radiology as appropriate.

o       The File Extension used for the Result files: Just as text documents have a file extension of .txt, and Bitmap images have a file extension of .bmp, so to Investigations Results files have file extensions. Investigations providers may use one of the standard series (PIT or HL7), or a unique extension of their own such as GRI, for example. When MedicalDirector Clinical looks for Results files to import, it looks for files with the file extensions it recognises, as recorded in Manage Communications. Ensure you have configured MedicalDirector Clinical to recognise all of the file extensions your providers use.

o       The Investigation Results location: This is the location on your computer network where downloaded Results files are stored. The default location for saving imported results is: C:\Program Files\Health Communication Network\Messages\In. If your providers have configured their download software to store Results files in this default location, you needn't configure MedicalDirector Clinical. However, your providers may have created their own custom download folders, and if so, you must configure MedicalDirector Clinical to account for this, on every computer you wish to import Results to, for each provider that uses this option.



Importing Results

Results can be imported automatically using Scheduled Document Import (SDI) technology. Results can also be manually imported at any time by pressing F4. Via the RSD tab of MedicalDirector Clinical Options, you can specify the default location to which Discharge Summary Reports, and other correspondence such as letters and summaries will be stored to after you action them.



Forcing an Import

To import results manually, from MedicalDirector Clinical front screen:

o       Press F4 on your keyboard, or

o       Select Correspondence > Download, or

o       Double-click the download program icon. Most laboratories provide a Windows desktop icon that can be used to run individual download programs. This will normally be only on the computer where the download program is installed.


This is best performed after the results are downloaded via the third-party software supplied by the laboratory. Most laboratories provide a Windows Desktop icon that can be used to run individual download programs. This will normally be only on the computer where the download program is installed.

This should initiate your provider's download and decryption software. The entire process may take some time, depending on the requirements of the third-party software and the amount and size of the Results files being downloaded.

If you have multiple providers, each with their own download system, MedicalDirector Clinical will perform this process for each configured system before prompting you to check the results.



Scheduling a Download

Because downloading can take more than a few minutes for large batches of results, it may be preferable to schedule automatic unattended downloads for initiation at a more convenient time.

Some laboratories provide scheduling facilities. Alternatively you could use the Windows Scheduled Tasks utility. Please consult your laboratory for information on configuring this to suit their download software.