Reliability of flash drives over CD/DVDs

Discussion in 'hardware' started by ohblu, Sep 28, 2011.

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  1. ohblu

    ohblu Registered Member

    Jul 26, 2008
    I work in a new doctor's office and my boss wants to give patients their test results from xrays and blood work on a flash drive. He originally wanted to use CD/DVDs but his tech person said that was outdated and to use flash drives instead. Considering that flash drives would cost around $6 each, and CD/DVDs would cost less than $1, it seems like he should just use DVDs. Can anyone tell me which one would be more reliable? The only advantage to the flash drives is if the patient had to get several xrays per year, then we could put them all on one flash drive rather than having multiple DVDs (since a DVD-r isn't re-writable and rws aren't totally reliable). Of course, this is assuming that the patient brought the flash drive back. So maybe that isn't a good idea. :doubt:

    Personally, I'd rather have my tests results on CD/DVD. I think they're more reliable and they take up less room to store than flash drives. Maybe we should let the patient choose.

    I hope it's ok to ask this next question here. My boss is having trouble finding flash drives for less than $6 ($5.99) each. Does anyone know where he can find some for less that he could buy in bulk? Newegg has them for $5.99, but that's still a lot considering patients would be getting them for free. After awhile, the costs would really add up.

    I'm hoping to come up with a solution to this problem. It would really give me some good bonus points with the boss. :D
  2. Spysnake

    Spysnake Registered Member

    Apr 11, 2009
    I can't comment on the reliability part, but I'd strongly recommend using CD/DVD -discs. That way you prevent any new writes to the media, which could even be a security risk if doctor's or patient's computers are infected. Trust me, you don't want your work computers to be infected in a medical office. The disks are also, as you said, cheaper, so that should tell much.

    I don't know what the tech person was trying to say with the outdating, maybe he/she referred to netbooks (and Macbook Air) which are usually unable to use optical discs if there is no external drive? On normal computers CD/DVD -discs are not outdated, even if Bluray or cloud marketers try to convince you otherwise!
  3. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

    Nov 6, 2009
    You can write-lock flash drives.
  4. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

    Feb 25, 2006
    I have burned and read hundreds of CD/DVD discs, and in my experience the short and medium-term reliability is very close to 100%. I use only "brand" blank discs, and burn them only with Nero, ImgBurn, or the Windows burner. Of course, I don´t know if these discs will be readable in 10 or 15 years.

    For me, a Flash key is at least 10-15 times more expensive that a DVD disc. And the cheapest keys are not confidence-inspiring mechanically.
  5. Seer

    Seer Registered Member

    Feb 12, 2007
    My experience is that CD/DVD reliability comes into question only in the long-run, after say 5+ years (if properly stored/maintained, that is, and not used as a sand paper). So unless the patients plan on keeping the CDs/DVDs (and count on data retrieval) after that period, I see nothing wrong in using this media.

    I also have to add that if a piece of data is important to me, I will keep multiple copies of it. This of course goes for data on flash drives as well, as it can be accidentaly deleted or destroyed by drive malfunction. That no media is absolutely foolproof, is a fact that any computer user should know.
  6. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

    May 11, 2011
    A single scratch on a CD/DVD is often enough to corrupt the entire thing. I would say flash drives are much more reliable. But for their price I don't think it's necessary.
  7. ABee

    ABee Registered Member

    Jun 2, 2010
    Your boss needs to do it the old-fashioned way, and give patients their results on a piece of paper.

    A sheet of paper is cheaper than both a flash drive and a CD, and the patient can then see the results immediately.
    Not to mention many older people wouldn't know how to insert a flash drive or CD into a computer to begin with-- assuming they even own a computer, which of course would be a prerequisite to giving them results on a CD or flash drive.

    Sometimes, the old way is better (and cheaper). Use paper.
    That doesn't prevent the patient from scanning that document and adding it to the computer media of their choice, and it makes the decision of 'flash drive or CD?' go away.

    Besides, if my doctor gave me test results on computer media rather than a piece of paper I could look at immediately, my first thought would be 'What's this guy trying to hide from me?'
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