Some of you may have heard the joke about the patient who says to his doctor “It hurts when I do this”. The response from the doctor was “Don’t do that”.
If you’re worried about Writer’s Cramp or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome one option is to cut back on the amount of writing/typing you do.
Narrative Report Generators are an interesting alternative to dictation/transcription/editing or directly typing up patient assessments.
It is relatively easy in some EMR environments to build a report script that will extract data recorded across multiple forms and consolidate this in a syntactically-correct multi-page true narrative.
A template that reads
“[name] is a [marital status] [gender] living at [address]”
can immediately map to, for example,
“John Doe is a married male living at 26 Oak Drive”
when you click on a Generate Report icon or button. The information can come from one form or from entry fields, checkbox fields, radio button sets, combo boxes, list boxes, memo fields, date/time fields, picture fields or tables at multiple forms.
Usually, the environment you are working in will need a rule set for each report template construct (e.g. <>) but rule set builders simplify this in many cases to navigating to each data source (e.g. a field on a form) and just clicking.
Narrative Report Generators are of no use for once-off reports. Usually, it takes a few hours to build a report template that is capable of yielding professional-looking reports so your best return on investment is with templates that see frequent use.
Under the right conditions narrative report generators save considerable time, automatically generating context and situation-specific letters to clients at planned time intervals (e.g. generate a patient statement every 30 days for patients who have non-current balances over $500).