Defining EMR Reporting Needs

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.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.