Posts tagged ‘Reporting’

A Scanner Darkly

The awkward phase. It’s an unpleasant nebulous moment between two well-defined points. That uncomfortable time as people go from childhood and adulthood. Or that fearful moment full of panic as you go from dating to being in a serious relationship with someone else. It’s that interim state where you’re no longer A but you’re not quite B either.

Medical reporting is currently in its own awkward phase.

In the not so distant past lies Paper Based Reporting – filling out forms using pen and pencil, typewriters, printing out reports and having physical copies of every document located somewhere. This is the world of triplicate, of faxes and envelopes, of white-out and paper shredders. Paper charts physically shipped or moved from practice to practice, facility to facility. Paperland, as I like to call it, does have its advantages, though: a physical document that proves that something happened and to which people can refer; an artifact that precisely records how something occurred at that date and time, without any fear of tampering; a collection of data that cannot be wiped out by a virus or any sort of IT snafu.

Meanwhile, in the not so distant future lies Electronic Based Reporting – entering every information via computers. Using synoptic reports to enter structured data, information is culled directly from machines (think of vital signs being automatically recorded and logged), or easily entered using touchscreens, mouse & keyboard or a stylus of some sort. Electronic reports allow for faster sending of information to a wider range of places. Specialized fields ensure consistency in language and information captured. Required fields and “checklist” approaches encourage more completeness in reporting and more pertinent information is readily captured.1 However, Tronworld, as I’ll refer to it, has its own share of problems. Information can be lost or stolen without any physical backups. There’s ensuring that all systems are speaking the same language when interfacing, so there’s no loss of data or need to reformat the data every time you go from one system to another.

So, between here and there, betwixt Paperland and Tronworld, lies us currently. How are people bridging the divide between the two different modes of reporting? The answer…might surprise you.
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September 13, 2010 at 9:12 am Leave a comment

What We Talk About When We Talk About Structured Data (Part 3)

In this post, the final attempt at making structured data make sense in our daily lives, we’re going to examine one last way that we use structured data. Part one was about baseball, and how statistics are captured and presented to followers of the sport. Part two focused on baking, and how synoptic reporting can find the most concise way of presenting the record of a particular event. So what is this final part of the trilogy about? Is it a synthesis of these Baseball and Baking? Baseking? Bakeball?

Best of Both Worlds

Sorry, David Wells, but I’m going with another All-American past time. Let’s jump in the car and hit the open road as we talk about driving directions!

Was it ever established why the fish don't fry in the kitchen?

We’ve all received those invitations for some event with the directions appearing in large block paragraphs. It looks more like a riddle to be solved than steps to get from here to there. Here’s an example of directions presented in a paragraph form, this one showing how to get from our mTuitive offices to MGM Grand at Foxwoods:

From mTuitive office, drive on Old Stage Road towards Route 6W. Stay on RT 6W as it merges with/becomes MA-25W and then I-195W until you reach the exit for I-95 South (to New York). Take I-95 South to Exit 92 in Connecticut. Go straight at the stoplight. At the next stoplight, turn right onto Route 2 West for eight miles. Take the Foxwoods Blvd / Ledyard Center exit. At the bottom of the exit bear right and take a left at the third light to arrive at the MGM Grand.


Again, it lays out everything perfectly fine, and if I were to follow them, I would be able to adequately go from work to losing all of my money at the craps table.

You Hustlin' Me, Boy?


Another way of viewing these directions is using the format one gets from a GPS device or from Google Maps. (more…)

August 24, 2010 at 2:17 pm Leave a comment

What We Talk About When We Talk About Structured Data (Part 2)

In Part One of my attempt at bringing Structured Data from the lofty heights of rhetoric and down into the every day real world, I used America’s favorite 3 hours of intermittent action – Baseball!

I suggest a new strategy, R2: let the Wookiee win.

It was a good, illustrative example of structured data – however, it was a bit impractical. Not many people conduct baseball research using data collected by statisticians. Structured Data may still seem foreign to those not interested in mapping how badly the Red Sox will break your heart this season using metrics and regressions. So let’s get even more grounded and practical – and in doing so, we’ll also examine synoptic reporting, a term that tends to accompany structured data but is not a synonym. So let’s see how we utilize structured data on a near daily basis. Let’s all head to the kitchen!

Last Known Photo of the Inventor of the Double Down


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August 20, 2010 at 2:46 pm Leave a comment

What We Talk About When We Talk About Structured Data (part 1)

Still trying to find that needle...

Sometimes it feels like my job wholly consists of talking about structured data. I give definitions and abstract examples – but it’s not easy to help people understand the real benefits of it. And so, as I try to find the best way to get my point across, I often think of real world examples of how structured data is useful in our daily lives and why it tends to be preferable to unstructured, narrative text.

With that in mind – let’s go out to the ball park!

THAT's the Chicago way!

Baseball. America’s Past Time. The Sweet Science. City of Lights. The Ghost and the darkness.

Okay, I’m not the biggest baseball fan. I will watch playoffs and world series. But I do know that a lot of baseball is about numbers: strike outs, home runs, bases stolen, RBIs, wins, losses, saves, ERAs, pitches thrown. Each of these play a crucial factor in determining how well your team is doing or how a player is perceived by his fans. And, following theories like those laid out in Moneyball, these metrics can even determine who will be signed on to your favorite team.

So what does this have to do with structured data? Glad you asked!
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August 18, 2010 at 3:59 pm 2 comments

Think of the iPossibilities…

The Future...is Now

After only a few weeks of toiling, we have brought the power of mTuitive OpNote to the ease and portability of the iPad. OpNote is now iPad and iPhone compatible and while some of our users have those devices, it’s really just a means for us to learn more about this technology that is growing in popularity and users. As more IT companies are announcing their plans for other tablets (or “slates” as they’re sometimes called), it’s great to be able to see how easily we’re able to bring over our product onto these devices.

Obviously, a lot of that has to do with the fact that OpNote is web-based – but more mobile operating systems (OS) are debuting every month, each with their own nuances and idiosyncrasies. As we develop OpNote on iPad, though, we can begin to see the future of personal computers and begin to envision how medical reporting will work for our incredibly busy and increasingly mobile physicians.

So how does OpNote look and work on the iPad? To paraphrase the reaction to another great technological advancement:

“I love OpNote on the iPad. It’s SO bad.”

June 10, 2010 at 5:27 pm Leave a comment

The Whole World Is Watching: The Increasing Importance of Structured Data

One aspect of surgical reporting that is receiving increasing attention is the capturing of quality indicators.  Quality Indicators are usually defined as those elements of caring for patients that can be tracked and used to determine best practices in future patient care.  (A listing of some can be found at this site.)  Capturing how physicians approach each procedure – in terms of medication administered, instructions upon discharge, or methods adopted in treatment – creates a large pool of data for future students/physicians to examine in determining best practices for particular procedures and what effect each part of the patient’s care is having on his/her outcome.

But beyond the improvement of patient care – which is clearly the highest of importance – why else should physicians be aware of quality indicators?  Perhaps physicians should be interested in quality indicators because they are now being used to determine the effectiveness and reputation of the medical facilities where surgeons are working.

As referenced in this DOTmed article, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) – working in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control and Center for Medicare/Medicaid Servics – has created a new website that grades Illinois hospitals, clinics and ambulatory surgery centers.  These grades come from multiple sources of data and are weighed accordingly (for more on the IDPH’s methodology, please visit this page).  No, quality indicators alone aren’t determining the scores for these hospitals and surgicenters – but they are contributing to their reputations and standing within the community.

How are these points of data captured? And how important are they?

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April 20, 2010 at 4:54 pm Leave a comment

Relativity in Reporting

How long does it take a surgeon to complete a postoperative report?

It seems like a straightforward question and it’s been one of our main focuses as we’ve developed the OpNote, our electronic postoperative reporting product.  In order to ensure adoption by users, we know that we can’t tax the user’s (in this case, a physician’s) time any more than they already spend on reporting.  So we had to determine how much time physicians spend generating their own postoperative reports.  This was mainly done through anecdotal means – speaking with various surgeons and asking them how long it takes for them to complete a report.

And that’s when we learned something interesting.  Surgeons would tell us it would only take 30 seconds to 5 minutes to complete their report, depending on the level of complexity of the procedure.  But is that accurate?  As we gathered information and stories of postoperative reporting – we noticed that the way physicians think about report completion may not be as correct as they think.

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April 1, 2010 at 2:50 pm Leave a comment


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Disclosure Statement - The authors of this blog are paid employees of mTuitive Inc. and are compensated for their services.