Almost every physician today is confronted with decreasing reimbursements on top of increasing overhead. The purchase of an EMR came be a daunting and expensive proposition. Your computer with an EMR is an excellent tool which can implement solutions to problems given the proper instructions/programming. We are all led to believe that the typical physician is not capable of or is too busy to the write and EMR. This is not true at most physicians can easily put together a powerful system to follow his patients and provide excellent medical care. Powerful off-the-shelf software exists today which are capable of helping you into the developmental process. The Office platform is one such developmental platform.
I have written this book for medical professionals who wish to forgo the purchase of an expensive EMR in lieu of writing their own powerful business tool for following patients using Word, Access and the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) software programming language. The reader is expected to have a basic working knowledge of software development and he should at least be familiar with the VBA IDE (integrated development environment) components for placing controls on a form and changing their properties. The eBook will not be an all-inclusive discussion on programming since there are many VBA reference books available both on-line and in bookstores, so I'll skip the basic details and get right to implementing a MS Office EMR project, focusing on a specific recurrent programming issues and tips on how to make an EMR that surpasses your expectations. It'll be a fast-track approach so that you can be using your EMR as fast as possible. Once you have completed the course you will come out with at least a goodunderstanding of programming an EMR inside the Office platform. For those who have absolutely never programmed anything in their lives, the purchase and review of a few basic programming textbooks on Word, VBA, and/or Access would be time well spent. Also, there are many tutorials on using Word, Access, and VBA on the internet. In this book I will try to touch on many of the common programming principles and tricks as well as review the frequently encountered problems that you will encounter in the development of your own MS Word EMR Project (MWEP).
I hope that you will quickly see that writing your own EMR is not only a straightforward process, but it is a logical process can be achieved if you dedicate a small amount at a time and patience.
These are some reasons for developing a Word EMR:
Word is in excellent platform to use in following your patients since it offers a very clean familiar interface that can be backed by the full power of the Access database program.
Like the Access program, Word can be linked into a LAN configuration and information concerning patients can be backed up onto back-end container tables whether they are the venerable Jet 4.0 or a. powerful SQL back-end. The use of ActiveX controls, ODBC, and VBA calls can all be done just like you could do in Access.
Word is a very inexpensive program.
In hospital and nursing home settings computers frequently do not have Access deployed, but almost all will have Word available for use. In this situation you might have a thumb drive with your front-end and back-end tables, all of which can use Word as the main EMR platform.
The Word offers the Visual Basic Editor (VBE) platform that provides the capability of making forms that provide a quick and easy way to modify and insert records into your background database tables. They offer an intuitive, graphical environment easily navigated by anyone familiar with standard computer techniques. Creating a form is an intuitive, simple and pleasant experience. Our initial goal for this tutorial is to create a simple form that will allow data entry operators to easily add new customers to the background (hidden) patient information database.
Programming using the VBE platform is very much like what you see in Access in most respects. The language, VBA is the same, but there are certain differences that need to be considered which can potentially make the creation of an EMR using Word more difficult:
The most important language that you will need to learn when working with the Office platform to make a more powerful EMR is the VBA programming language.
The newest programming language is that extensible, or XML language. It has become popular due to its capability to interface disparate programs better than any other language that has been introduced to date.
This table summarizes the typographical conventions used in this book.
At this point, begin a rough planning what you wish for your EMR to do on paper. Look at other EMR software systems to get an idea of the forms, reports, and tables that you will need. In the chapters that follow, you will be able to refine and digitalize your ideas. A good place to start, of course, is with the MWEP.