Incorporating the family into a computerized office registration system.Fam Med. 1993 Feb; 25(2):131-4.FM
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES
New office computer systems provide physicians with the opportunity to link together the medical records of all members of a family. The purpose of this report is to describe our experience with a computerized family grouping system in a practice of 12,000 patients.
Using a computerized patient registration system, we developed a six-digit numbering scheme that signified how various members of a household were related to one another. When first instituting the system, we initially linked individuals who shared the same phone number. Subsequently, information was updated and corrected by patients when they came to the office.
Costs for the system included the cost of an 80386 computer with a 200 megabyte hard disk and software. In addition, initial entry of patient data cost approximately $0.36 per patient. Costs were lower ($.08 per patient) once the system was established. Several problems were noted in instituting the system, including staff difficulty in adjusting to new routines and errors in data entry and reports.
Computerized patient registration systems permit linkage of medical records and registration information of all individuals in a family or household. Integrating such systems into medical offices requires acceptance of new routines by staff.