Ask a Clinician

Posting this in the Developer category because I think it’ll get more visibility.

We spend a lot of time talking about solving software development problems - which is awesome, I love it. But, I’ve often wondered if developers want to know more about the clinical side of healthcare. As a nurse I have the unique perspective of speaking both the technical and clinical languages.

I plan on presenting on a Saturday call and want developer feedback. What questions do you have about clinical workflows? My experience is in the inpatient, acute care hospital setting, but I have studied the administrative side of healthcare as well. Looking forward to putting together a meaningful (pun completely intended) discussion.


For me, I would love an explanation on what is done on a daily basis that is common for 50-70% of your patients. I’d like OpenEMR to be able to address the needs of all the various specialties, but I would love to know how the workflows that are commonly used in acute care facilities are supported, or different from what we currently have in OpenEMR.

For me just hearing a narrative of the ‘typical’ day at the hospital and the tools and data that is needed / tracked for the common scenarios would be very insightful. If I think of other things I’ll post them.

I think this is a great idea! The primary disconnect I’ve seen in OpenEMR is when the dev doesn’t know the clinical significance of the workflow they’re coding and includes extraneous steps or data collection. Not that it happens very often- I mean, Brady is an MD and (though I don’t run in dev circles) I expect he does exert some influence in keeping the EMR on track that way.

One thing I’ve come to appreciate is how utterly different each healthcare practice is from every other. Not only between disciplines but between the workflows you find in different Pediatrician’s office routines, for example.

O’Reilly published a book, ‘Hacking Healthcare’

that is an incredible resource for insights on the health industry for IT folks. I got a free download a few years ago; that link has a ‘free trial period’ though I don’t know what that involves.

But the quote at the head of Chap 2 really applies: “When you’ve seen one medical practice, you’ve seen one medical practice.” It is close to impossible to generalize across practices. Which I see in my Customer Support work: every single one of them has different, significant, workflows that OpenEMR doesn’t include by default.

I see I missed Robert’s Saturday call, but why not formalize this thread as a place to post questions? How many healthcare pros do we have reading this forum, and every one of them is a potential source of expertise on yet another way to use OpenEMR. Myself, I was a Psychiatric/ Detox LPN for 18 years before getting into Health Informatics. I’m happy to share my experiences as they pertain to OpenEMR design and use, and I bet lots of others are too.

1 Like

You’ve not missed the call! It’ll likely be in February as I want to ensure ample time for community feedback and other ideas. I like the idea of a category for Health Informatics, I’ll get one setup here :slight_smile:

1 Like

Hi @robert.down -
Ok, glad I didn’t miss it; I’ll try to catch it when it happens.

I think it’s curious how over the 7 years I’ve been into OpenEMR and reading the forum, I have so rarely seen devs asking how a particular healthcare workflow is carried out. Have you seen much of that?

Not much on the forums, but I have had convos with devs who had said there’s value in learning more about the clinical workflow. So much focus has been on ONC cert over the last few years I think it has been tough to grow other areas.

1 Like