Creating Software to Support a Patient Registration Process
When developing a clinical application, ease of integration into existing business processes is paramount. The features implemented by the application are going to dictate how well the application gets received and how it can help or hurt productivity. In this post, I look at how the business processes for patient registration can be best supported by software.
First a look at the process:
From this URN diagram we see that the patient comes in, clerk collects data (sometimes partially), patient gets treated, data intake form is completed if incomplete, quality assurance checks the form to make sure it is really complete, checks to see if it is a duplicate patient and if not everything the chart is stored. The reason for why the intake form is sometimes only partially completed is down to many factors. The most understandable of which is that patients can arrive at hospitals unconscious and are therefore unable to communicate their particulars to the healthcare providers. Other reasons come down to unknown information (such as medications or even something like a postal code) although the patient is conscious or human error.
The effect on software for this process is that the validators on the patient intake form need to allow partial data to be entered, but for the form to be marked as incomplete or requiring review if this is the case. The only thing the process and connecting processes need is for the patient to have some kind of identifier for the organization, i.e. a patient identification number. This is the business key that is used to logically link records for that one patient. Quality assurance personnel should ultimately take care of ensuring that forms are eventually completed. If it turns out the patient is actually a repeat visitor to the healthcare facility, the patient records can be merged, consolidating the data recorded during both visits. Therefore, some interface for quality assurance to do its job is needed with the ability to back-enter data.
About the Author
Quintin has an extensive software development background in clinical applications and business intelligence.