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I get all the definitions, now why does this apply to me?

Imagine attempting to graph the trend of a patient's weight over time, and having several different concepts which refer to recorded weights - you're looking at a lifetime of rummaging through non-standardized paperwork and measurements. If one properly uses the concept dictionary, they will be able to analyze any concept, no matter what encounter and form it was recorded in. The Concept Dictionary guarantees that all weights will be recorded as weights, and not under various headings.

As simple as it can be explained, OpenMRS is an infinitely large filing cabinet. Within that cabinet, each patient has a file. Within that file are a series of encounters, each consisting of hundreds of observations. As the patient continues to utilize the healthcare system, they will become associated with a limitless number of observations. Each of these observations consists of a question (what is the patient's weight) and an answer (140lbs); the Concept Dictionary easily links these two concepts together. Because of this automatic correlation, there is a necessity for all concepts to be properly crafted.

Where do I start? What do I do?

So, you're not exhausted from the descriptions, and you want to create a concept?
Before you create your concept in OpenMRS, contemplate these three steps:

  1. Make sure the concept doesn't already exist in the dictionary. When searching the dictionary, use partial names (e.g. KALE or KALET instead of KALETRA). Looking for partial names will help catch misspelled entries. Think about what your organization most generally refers to this concept as and consider all possible synonyms! You may be surprised what concepts already exist.
  2. Make sure that you can describe/understand the concept that you're getting ready to enter! Say for example, that you're asked to create a new term for the retroviral drug eliminatehivudine. Knowing that it's a retroviral drug is insufficient, as you're going to need to detail eliminatehivudine's differences from all other antiretrovirals within the terms description. Don't be too sure of yourself - double check with the person requesting the new concept that you have the correct, specific definition.
  3. Make sure that you include and standardized representation of the concept, e.g. LOINC or ICD10. If you have no idea what this is, go to the internet or a coworker and find out!

Do you have all of the information ready? Then it's time to walk through a primary concept definition, and the basic attributes this includes. More information on concept naming is also available on this wiki page.

  • Primary Name
    • The name should be completely specific. It is HEPATITIS B IMMUNIZATION, not IMMUNIZATION, HEPATITIS B.
    • Use all CAPITALS
    • Use only alphanumeric characters! (If this was a concept, there would be no exclamation point.)
    • NO ACRONYMS: Abbreviations and acronyms are only used as synonyms!!
    • When necessary, always refer to the generic form, e.g. Ibuprofen, not Advil©
    • When referring to organism or virri, the full taxonomic name is used, e.g. HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS, not HIV
    • Adhere to complete granularity! RIGHT UPPER QUADRANT ABDOMINAL PAIN refers to too many observations. This can be tricky in practice and if you're unsure, refer to a geek or someone who can identify mini-clauses within your proposed primary name.
  • Short Name
    • Be smart and only use alphanumeric characters, avoid long phrases, and acronyms that may have several meanings
  • Synonym
    • Again, be smart! Use any other phrases or acronyms that people within your organization may search for when attempting to use this concept. If you're at a loss, conduct a survey of possible end users.
  • Description
    • Without question, at the end of reading this statement, a lay person should have a decent idea of the concept meaning. This is always REQUIRED, no exceptions.
  • Data Class
    • Is the concept a question that requires responses? If so, label it as a question!
    • Is it a list of questions that are related? If so, label it as a CONVSET!
    • Is it a list of lab procedures that are related? If so - label it as LABSET!
    • Is it a list of medications that are related (e.g. Antiretrovirals)? If so, label it as a MEDSET!
    • If you've gotten through the above questions, be smart, and choose the best fitting of the remaining classes.
    • More on concept classes at this wiki page.
  • Is it a set?
  • Datatype
  • Is your concept a question that requires responses?
    • If yes, select the type that best represents the form that you wish to view your data as.
      • If yes, and there are only a few possible answers, select CODED, and choose those possible answers.
      • If yes, and the class is numeric, make sure you enter any critical values. Also, select PRECISE if you desire decimal answers.
    • If no, select N/A.
    • More on concept datatypes at this wiki page.
  • Version
    This is completely up to you.
    • Use any method you think works for you.
    • Use a method that will be easily recognized and utilized by all other OpenMRS users.
    • Be consistent with your method across all concepts.
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