Database 101-6: What does Page Life Expectancy (PLE) do to your database?

Database 101-6: What does Page Life Expectancy (PLE) do to your database?

So how can you tell if you’re giving SQL a big enough “desk”? There are different metrics around memory usage that can help you figure that out, but the most common one is called Page Life Expectancy. 

Database 101-4: Why should you care about Index Maintenance?

By Rick Magill

A continuation of the blog post Database 101-3: What is Index Maintenance?

In our last post, we said why it is extremely important to perform routine Index maintenance for your SQL databases. I thought we’d walk through a few cautionary tales of how not maintaining these indexes can impact your pharmacy. (Spoiler alert: all are less than ideal situations for your staff and customers!)

Database Best Practices

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·       Run daily / weekly Index Defragmentation

·       Ensure proper backups / disaster recovery

·       Install appropriate database integrity checks


What happens when the above isn’t executed? Here are some real-world issues that have been called in to SoftWriters, and how each situation resulted.


Issue: Over the last few months our system has slowed down.


Discovery: There was no blocking on the SQL server. Ran an index fragmentation script. Over 100 indexes were over 80% fragmented.

Solution: Ran index maintenance overnight.

Results: Improved performance speeds achieved.

Best Practice: Run index maintenance at least once per week.


Issue: No one can log in. It shows an error about something missing?!

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Discovery: FrameworkLTC error that a stored procedure was missing. SQL was missing the entire FWDB; other databases were in a state of disarray. Ticketing system showed a recent upgrade from an older version that required a database migration. IT at the pharmacy had reverted from a backup of virtual machine that was mid-migration. SQL backups were being run daily, but were left on the virtual machine.

Solution: Restored the databases.

Results: The pharmacy lost three weeks of data.

Best Practice: Establish more efficient disaster recovery procedures like moving backups offsite for disaster recovery.


Issue: Complete pharmacy down!

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Discovery: All users were receiving the same error. Upon checking SQL, “FWDB (Suspect)” = Data corruption

Solution: Ran index maintenance overnight

Results: Restored the database

Best Practice: Follow better database maintenance procedures such as running index maintenance at least once per week.


Rick Magill is a Solutions Consultant at SoftWriters, a Pittsburgh-based company that offers pharmacy management software solutions to pharmacies serving the long-term care community. Rick is an integral part of our customers’ success with his forward thinking and commitment to excellence.


Database 101-1: Tables and Indexes

Database 101-1: Tables and Indexes

Ryan Huber and Rick Magill presented “Database Optimization and Performance Improvements” as a breakout session at our conference last month, and due to it’s popularity we’re sharing it as a series of blog posts. This post covers tables and indexes.

MHA and SoftWriters Announce New Initiative to Deliver Best-in-Class Solutions and Help Long-Term Care Pharmacies Succeed

MHA and SoftWriters Announce New Initiative to Deliver Best-in-Class Solutions and Help Long-Term Care Pharmacies Succeed

Going forward, SoftWriters, which develops innovative pharmacy management software solutions for long-term care pharmacies, will be responsible for the support, delivery and further development of RxPertise, the acclaimed Medication Regimen Review (MRR) software application for consultant pharmacists specializing in long-term care. This combination of best-in-class solutions and industry-leading expertise is designed to align and strengthen our software offering with the emphasis on how MHA and SoftWriters can help long-term care pharmacies compete, be more efficient, and reduce costs.

The Impact of Disruptive Technology

 Shan Bhide, Vp of Technology, SoftWriters

Shan Bhide, Vp of Technology, SoftWriters


Our very own Shan Bhide, VP of Technology, was interviewed by ComputerTalk last month. He talked about how software development requires innovation and creativity, and the disruptive technologies that could transform pharmacy practice.

Read the full ComputerTalk interview at

Making software, in my mind, is more of an art than a science. It takes so many different things, like teamwork, collaboration, thinking outside the box, and creativity, to build an amazing software solution.
— Shan Bhide, VP of Technology at SoftWriters, in an interview with ComputerTalk's Maggie Lockwood

A Summer Intern's Experience At SoftWriters

A Summer Intern's Experience At SoftWriters

SoftWriters is excited for the opportunity to bring interns into our organization. The internship program allows students to use their knowledge in a real-world environment and we welcome the fresh and relevant perspective they bring to collaboration and project design.

Read Nick Hutchison’s experience interning with SoftWriters technology team!

FrameworkLTC Suite of Products: August Release Is Now Available

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The release notes and software are available on the Customer Engagement Zone (CEZ). Join us September 5, 2:00 p.m. EST for the FWLTC Release Notes Webinar. We will review these updates with a special focus on the Prospective Billing functionality. If you are not yet registered for the webinar series, the link is available on the CEZ under SUPPORT > WEBINARS.

2nd Annual School Supply Drive

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SoftWriters' 2nd annual school supplies drive to benefit the North Hills Community Outreach was a huge success! We exceed our donation quantity from last year by 271, collectively we were able to donate over 1,500 items! We are thrilled to be able to support local families and kids heading back for a new school year.

Thanks to the entire SoftWriters team for your contributions, our School Supply Drive was a terrific success!