Archiving discarded patient files

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We have just completed our yearly cleaning out and discarding of patient files over 7 years old.  Generally this involves us going through each file one by one and adding a note to their FrontDesk file saying "File Discarded" and checking the archive box which is very labour intensive.  This year we had the tech guys create a simple script that automatically archived all patients that had not had a transaction in the past 7 years which took all of 1 second to run.  We thought that as every clinic will be doing the same thing every year it would probably be a good idea if FrontDesk could add a stand-alone program or an advanced option to be able to do this ourselves, ideally adding a note to the patient's file as well.  Thoughts?
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DrMat

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Posted 3 years ago

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Steven, Business Care

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I assume that we were the tech people here :) It's strictly not a good idea to let other people make updates to the database external to the program as this can cause integrity issues inside the database. 

The first question we need to answer is "do you need to archive patients when using Front Desk?"

The reason that we do not have an automatic archive function is that the process of archiving patients is not embraced across all practices. There is no real need to archive your patients and by archiving patients you can actually cause more work when a patient comes back in after an extended period of time. I can confirm that the system will not slow down if you don't do this. 

The general reason practices archive patients is when the patient makes it clear they are not coming back, have requested not to be contacted again or are deceased. 

We would be interested in hearing how other people use the archive function and what benefit it gives them.
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Kelly Harloff

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I would like to use this function for the reasons you have mentioned - deceased & relocating/non returning patients. When running the recall report the archived patients are not included in the report, if I so choose.
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DrMat

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While it might not slow down FrontDesk it does make it easier for the staff taking appointments if they aren't trying to find a patient's name mixed in with every name since the clinic opened.  If you can remove patients whose physical files have been discarded from 7+ years ago it just helps.  If they haven't been in for that long then chances are they aren't coming back!
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Steven, Business Care

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Hi DrMat

As you can see, different people use the archive function in different ways. In the future if you had the need for a bulk process to archive your patients, open up a support case at www.smartsoft.com.au/support and our helpdesk team can run a script for you at no cost, provided that it is using simple criteria such as your example: patients who haven't had a transaction for 7 or more years.
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Julienne Locke

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We've just archived all patients with no transaction in 3 years.  It was over 1500 patients.  We used to do it monthly with 2 years redundant transactions but got labour intensive.  Our reasons for example to do this are vast, some include that  we see alot of people post acute through a joint replacement programme and 2 visits then discharged.  Never to be back.  i have currently 38 patients with the surname Brown.  And 7 of those are John Browne.  It reduces clinician error.  Our secretaries are well versed at opening the archived files to check for clients already entered when commencing a new episode of care.
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Celia Young

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We use the archive function as you mentioned - deceased, have said they don't want to be contacted or have moved away / to another practice.  Other than that we keep them on the database so we can keep in touch with special events we are running or updates in our clinics etc
We were use the Archive function the same as Dr Mat does.  However, we've now gone one step further now and spent months scanning all patient paper files and we've gone mostly paperless.  We now use the Archive function to indicate patients that have indicated they aren't coming back/moved away/deceased.  Essentially "No contact".
(Edited)
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Sharon Tavelli

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We archive clients who haven't been for six months due to paper files limits and storage issues and multiple clients with same name. Hoping to go paperless by end of year. I believe archive records for medical practices can be destroyed after 7 years. My old client we archived after 3 years again a paper clinic and destroyed after 7.

Front desk doesn't have a deceased tab, so we archive and put under warning date of death. It would be nice to have a deceased button with date.

Archiving means we are not targeting clients with newletters who are no longer coming to our clinic. The good thing about archiving is we can still search database for them if they return and details are there.
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Julienne Locke

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For Sharon above.. we have an "event" name deceased.  And load the event.  We also use events for reasons for discharged.  Our secretaries quickly check the events tab for any of these.  Not sure if thats an option?
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In Stride Health Clinic

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Thanks Julienne, will look into it.
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Teresa O'Donnell

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additionally when using mailchimp, it is more economical to archive your old patients before you link it to your frontdesk database because mailchimp includes all patients when calculating your monthly fee. As we now have over 20,000 patients on file (6,000 of which could be archived) it was pretty costly. in the end I chose to just purchase credits and then segment in front desk as we go to control our spend. I would love the ability to 'archive' records in bulk via a report

thanks

Teresa

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In Stride Health Clinic

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does mailchimp have access to archived file lists?  we don't use this through frontdesk. Sharon
(Edited)