Adding links to medical records


I was made aware of an issue this week where clients have been sending in videos of their animals and staff have been adding them to medical records. The large file size of some of these was causing some backup issues (if resetting max_allowed_packet, don't forget to set it as well in [mysqldump]). Some education is warranted as some of these video files are huge and of limited medical value.  But it did bring up the issue of the wisdom of storing large attachments in the database in the first place.  I believe that the preferred solution would be to park those large files elsewhere (such as a local file server) and provide links to those files within the medical record.

While the link can be put into the record easily enough, it would be great if it would behave like a link and either be clickable (opening in a new tab) or shown in the record as any other attachment or image.  For this, I would suggest an additional option within the New Medical Record window of "Link" in addition to the existing options of Attachment, Form, Image, etc.

Maybe I shouldn't worry about this and just keep cranking up the max_allowed_packet size, but my gut feeling is that linking out might be wiser in the long run.


Kamloops, Canada


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Re: Adding links to medical records

The main issues with external links are that there:

  1. is no editing control i.e. the content can be changed or deleted even if record locking is in place
  2. they fall outside of the OpenVPMS backup
  3. links can break if the content is moved

Some of these issues can be ameliorated by using a content repository (e.g., but then there is two systems to maintain.
If the concern is that the database is growing too large for mysqldump, there are other backup techniques to use. There is an overview here:


Re: Adding links to medical records

Hi Tim,

I see that you want to keep everything in one place for the reasons you give, but storing large attachments within the database seems like it has its limits.  Backup issues are not so much a limitation of mysqldump as they are just the unwieldy nature of transferring huge databases around, to backup servers, off-site storage, etc.  The issue is only starting to be felt now, and looking into the future, will only get worse (databases only get bigger). 

OK, well, we'll look at this some more.  I'm sure a combination of staff education and storage strategies can get us to a workable solution.




Re: Adding links to medical records

There are several backup alternatives of mysqldump that are faster:

For a cloud based solution, see Amazon RDS

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