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Electronic Procedure Orders

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This feature is applicable to OpenEMR releases 4.1.2 and later. As of this writing that release is still in development.

The procedure ordering system supports electronic exchange of orders and results with outside services such as labs. After suitable setup is done, orders may be created within OpenEMR, transmitted to the outside provider, and results retrieved and saved when they are available. Currently the order must exist in the system before the corresponding results may be retrieved, but this is expected to be enhanced later to include results-only processing.

No intermediate service is required to use this system. Communication is directly between the OpenEMR installation and the outside provider.

Creating an Order

A procedure order is an encounter form within a patient visit. To create a procedure order, open the desired patient encounter and select the Procedure Order encounter form (by default this is in the Administrative group at the top of the encounter summary area). A form will be presented to fill in the appropriate information: ordering provider, procedure provider, order date, sample collection time (if applicable), priority, status, patient instructions and the desired procedure(s).

A blank field is provided to select the first procedure. Clicking on that brings up a dialog window where you can perform a search. The search text may be part or all of the provider's order code, or part of all of its description. If you click Search without entering anything else, then the provider's complete compendium is listed.

Depending on the procedure selected, additional fields may appear on the form. These are where you answer questions that are specific to the procedure. Red field labels indicate a response is required. Additional hints may appear to the right of the fields.

If you have more than one procedure to enter, click the Add Procedure button.

To save the order and send it to the outside provider, click the Save and Transmit button. If you want to save it but not send it yet, then instead click Save. To transmit it later, you must open the same order and click Save and Transmit. Note that "open the same order" means going to the encounter summary and clicking the Edit button for the existing procedure order on the left side of the panel (do not create a new order to do this).

Retrieving and Viewing Results

To retrieve results, navigate to Procedures -> Electronic Reports. All outside providers that are configured to be polled for results will be checked at this time, and the top of the page will indicate what files, if any, are newly found.

The top of this page has filter fields where you can specify a date range, review status and whether the display is only for the current patient. By default all unreviewed reports are listed.

The "Upload" field allows you to upload results that were sent to you externally as a file, perhaps by email or downloaded from the outside provider's web site. This is not needed for currently supported providers.

To view results for a particular order, click the order date field for the corresponding line. A new window/tab will be opened to display the reports for that order. After viewing results the ordering provider should click the Sign Results button to mark them as reviewed.

Results for an order may also be seen by navigating to the encounter and clicking [View Results] below the order's information in the encounter summary area.