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How the Integrated Epic EHR/PM System Handles Reporting

Four of the most common tools are: Epic Reporting Workbench, Epic Clarity, Epic Radar, and Epic Reporting Workbench Extract Templates.

By Vanis Johnson of ICG

- Reporting in Epic systems isn’t an easy thing to do. The system generates millions upon millions of records of data in its role as an enterprise practice management (EPM) system, yet data isn’t information. Information is created by the way the data is put together or presented in a report.

To help convert this data into information, Epic systems gives the user many different tools for reporting. Four of the most common tools are: Epic Reporting Workbench, Epic Clarity, Epic Radar, and Epic Reporting Workbench Extract Templates.

Each has a particular use, and it is through these that reporting is created in Epic.

Epic Reporting Workbench

Epic Reporting Workbench is used within hyperspace and is often referred to as “operational reports.” This is because reports created in Reporting Workbench are created using templates that pull data directly from Chronicles. You could almost say that they are “real-time” reports, yet it is because of this access that they are restricted on how much data they will return or how large the report can be.

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You would not run a Reporting Workbench report for YTD data. This restriction is in place to keep Reporting Workbench from putting a strain on the servers, which would slow down day-to-day operations of the EPM.

Reports created from Reporting Workbench templates are found in a Menu item entitled My Reports. My Reports consist of three elements: My Reports, Recent Results, and Library. It is in the Library that users can either find a template to create a report or a report already created.

Let’s say a provider needs to know how many of his diabetic patients have had an A1C done in the last month. A Reporting Workbench report could give him this list, plus because it is running in hyperspace, the provider is able to double click on a name and the patient’s chart would be shown. Reporting Workbench reports are the only reports in Epic that have this capability.

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Epic Clarity

Because of the data return restriction put upon Epic Reporting Workbench and the need for longer reports, Epic uses a Clarity database. This database is a relational database and can either be an Oracle or Microsoft SQL database. It is housed on its own server and has no impact on day-to-day operations of the EPM.

It’s using Epic Clarity that you would run YTD or several years of data reports. Reports created using Clarity are referred to as “analytical reports,” and there is no restriction on the amount of data that can be returned. However, unlike Reporting Workbench, the data is all ways one day behind Chronicles.

This is due to a process called ETL — extract, transform, and load. This is a process that is run every night in which Chronicles data is extracted, transformed to fit the relational database, and then loaded into the database tables. Once the data is loaded, it can be used as the data source for a report. This is accomplished using a tool called SQL. SQL is a special-purpose programming language designed for managing data held in a relational database management system (RDBMS). These are your “select” and “from” statements and are called SQL script.

Once the SQL script has been created, it is used as the data source in a report-authoring tool such as Crystal Reports. Crystal gives the report its polished look.

Epic Radar

I have included Radar in Epic reporting even though it isn’t used to create reports. Radar is used to present information and usually falls under the duties of the Epic Reporting Coordinator.

Think of Radar as a dashboard or splash screen. What is seen in Radar can be tailored to meet the needs of all most any role in the organization, from provider to billing clerk. Radar does this by the use of specialized components. There are seven of these, and each has a specific use. For example, there is a Graph component that will visually summarize data using Reporting Workbench reports or code templates as their data source.

Another component type is the Report Listing component that can display links to all of a user’s essential reports or to their My Reports and can even display PDF files created from a Crystal report. Viewing a Crystal report PDF in Radar is done through a process called Epic Crystal Integration. Usually Crystal reports are delivered to a user by email or they are given a file to go to in which they can download the report.

Epic Reporting Workbench Extract Framework

Epic Reporting Workbench Extract Framework is a tool that allows you to transmit Chronicles data into another system by the use of flat files. This tool works with vast sums of Chronicles data; therefore, to accommodate this data extracts are run automatically by Batch Scheduler jobs. The basis of a template is a Reporting Workbench report as well as detailed knowledge of the Chronicles structure and master files needed.

You now have a basic background of Epic reporting, but these four aren’t the only tools used for reporting. With the installation of integrated systems like Epic in healthcare facilities there has been an explosion of the amount of clinical, patient, and financial data collected.

In an effort to help a facility maximize the use of this data for clinical and financial use, Epic has developed other tools such as a data warehouse software called Cogito, BusinessObject Universes (which makes it easier to select data for reporting in Clarity), and finally BusinessObject Web Intelligence (a business intelligence software that allows for the creation of analysis and ad-hoc reports).

Vanis Johnson is an Epic Consultant at Innovative Consulting Group.




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