Managing Patient Records – Common Mistake and Remedies

Many practices are currently dealing with an influx of patients, both new and existing. With staff run off their feet in such a hectic time, small mistakes may begin to pop up with managing patient records and associated information.

The Most Common Mistake

The most common error made when managing patient records is accidentally creating a duplicate entry for a patient.

In such a stressful and busy time, it’s a forgivable oversight to inadvertently create a new record for an existing patient. Perhaps they have not been to the Practice in several years, they might have married and changed surnames, or they may even have started using a nickname rather than their given name when booking an appointment.

Quickly Identifying Duplicate Records

A database search can help you quickly identify any duplicate patient records. By using the Search Utility you will be able to run a loaded query and generate a list of duplicate records.

A number of useful queries are provided with a Bp Premier installation. These can be found in the folder C:\Program Files\Best Practice Software\BPS\SuppliedQueries.

  • From the Main Screen > Utilities menu > Search
  • Select Load Query
  • Highlight Demographic and double-click
  • Select Duplicated patients by dob,name.sql
  • Click Open or double-click
  • Click on Run query
  • Search query will generate a list of duplicate patient records. Print or save the list as a XML or CSV file.

Cleaning up your Patient List

Once duplicates patient records have been identified, you have the ability to merge the records. However, it is important to note that you must be very careful when merging records, as it is a permanent action and cannot be undone.

  • Select View > Patients from the main screen. The Patient list screen will appear.
  • Search for the patient by surname, firstname. Both records should be listed in the patient list. The records will have the same name and details.
  • Select the patient record that you want to keep.
  • Select Edit > Merge from the menu. If the Merge option is not available, speak to your system administrator to have the user permission added.
  • Read the Merge Patients warning prompt that appears. If you are sure you have the right patient, click Yes.
  • Search for the patient to merge by surname. The patient selected here will be merged with the first patient and the record removed from the database.
  • Select the patient and click Select.
  • The second patient record will now be removed and any notes, results, documents, and patient data recorded for the patient will be moved to the patient selected in step 3.

Avoid Creating Duplicate Records

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. The tips below will help to mitigate the risk of duplicate entries when managing patient records.

  • When creating an appointment or searching the patient list ensure you tick the checkbox ‘show inactive patients’.
  • Use more advanced search options such as the patient’s DOB or Medicare number.
  • On ‘adding appointment’ window use the View Details box to further check a patient’s demographic information.
  • Review your current Practice policies and procedures when creating new patient records to ensure all staff following the same system.
Authored by:
Belinda Bazant
Training and Deployment Specialist at Best Practice Software
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