Duplicate Patient Records

Over time AngelTrack will accumulate duplicate patient records, as well-meaning dispatchers and crews accidentally create a second record for a patient which they could not find while searching. Here is what a duplicate record looks like to a dispatcher:

Duplicate records

When you see these from time to time, take a moment to merge them together:

  1. Visit the Patients List available under Dispatch Home or Billing Home.
  2. Use the filters or sort keys to find some of the duplicate records. You only need to find one of them.
  3. Open the Patient Edit page for one of the duplicates.
  4. From the "Identity" popup menu select the "Dupe Finder".
  5. If you do not see any suspected duplicates listed, then it means the other records are not sufficiently similar. The Dupe Finder looks for records that match any of these fields: At least one of those fields must match. If none of them do, but you are nevertheless sure that the records are duplicates, then you must make them better duplicates so that the Dupe Finder can find them:
    1. Use the Patients List to track down the duplicate records one by one.
    2. Edit each duplicate record in order to give it exactly the same value as the master record in one or more of the aforementioned fields (SSN is best).
    3. Return to the original record and refresh the Dupe Finder.
    The whole process is made easier by using separate browser tabs.
  6. In the Dupe Finder's grid, you can click each suspected duplicate record in order to open it in a new tab. By switching among these tabs, you can decide which record is the best -- in other words, which record will you keep as the sole survivor, versus which will be absorbed into it.

    Dupe finder

  7. Once you've settled on a sole survivor, use its Dupe Finder to mark all other records as "This row is a dupe". Clicking that button will merge all information from that record into the sole survivor record, including:

Merges are irreversible

The merge operation cannot be undone, so double-check each merge before consummating.

If you merge a record by mistake and wish to undo it, you must contact AngelTrack Support. There will be a substantial administrative fee to pull backups and recover the unmerged data.

PMHx checkpoint merge caveats

During a merge, AngelTrack will scrape data from the "loser" record in order to fill in gaps in the "winner" record.

The problem is what to do when an outright conflict occurs. For example, suppose that both winner and loser records have PMHx data for the July 1 checkpoint. In the "Current medications" field, the winner has "None" but the loser has "Acetaminophen". Which answer is correct? There is no way for software to make that decision.

Consequently, AngelTrack makes no attempt to decide such a thing. Whenever both winner and loser have a checkpoint on the same date, the loser's PMHx data is discarded. Consequently, if you wish to preserve some of the data from the loser, you must manually copy it to the winner before performing the merge.


Where Do Duplicate Records Come From?

There are two places in AngelTrack where duplicate patient records can be created:

Dupes happen during ordinary call-taking

Call-takers will create duplicate patient records if they are not fastidious in their use of the patient "Find" features. AngelTrack can search narrowly or widely to find existing patient records that match a last name and/or a date of birth... but these features are only useful when call-takers have the discipline to use them.

Misspelled last names are also a problem. To help, AngelTrack performs sound-alike searches on the name provided by the call-taker:

Patient name search tools

The "Find" tool finds names that sound like the name given, whereas the "Find Wide" tool finds names that begin with the same sound. Consequently, "Find Wide" can return a lot of results. It is meant to be used after the regular "Find" fails to locate any records.

Dupes also happen where the patient is not known until on-scene

When the patient's name is not yet known, a call-taker cannot perform their normal duty of carefully selecting the correct patient record. Instead, the crew is responsible for doing so while on-scene.

When the crew opens the PCR, AngelTrack presents them with this page:

No patient attached

If the crew is in a hurry, they can simply phone in the patient's name to their dispatcher. The dispatcher can then find the correct record (or choose to create one) and attach it to the dispatch. The PCR will then open normally.

Of course the crew can also search for the patient record by name and DOB, and attach the correct record to the dispatch, like this:

Choose a matching patient attached

So far so good.

The problem is: crews must be taught to always search for a patient's record, before giving up and clicking the button to create a brand new patient record.

When one is in a hurry, it is difficult to resist the simplicity of the "Create a New Patient Record" button. That temptation can be reduced by reminding crews that a brand new patient record contains no information yet. It must all be re-typed... a chore easily avoid by taking the time to find the patient's existing record.



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