I read this nice post about an EMR system reporting “number of patients.” Here’s a quick snippet of the EMR reporting problem:
They considered a patient to be someone who had started a course of treatment. However, the clinical operations considered a patient to be someone who walked through the door.
Both of these are valid numbers, but when finance asked for ‘how many patients did you see,’ the two came up with wildly different numbers.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had discussions like this. For example, I’ve been asked the question, how many patients have we seen in the clinic? Do you mean people who have come to the clinic or total appointments for those people? Do you include nurse only visits for immunizations or do you just mean doctors’ visits? etc etc etc.
The cool part is now we’re past those basic EMR reporting and can now start looking at cool questions like, how many patients with a BMI in a specific range were properly diagnosed as obese? Was this addressed during the patient visit? That’s when the data in an EMR starts to be really cool.