These definitions can also be found at the Concept Dictionary Basics Page
What is an encounter?
A patient visits a health center or hospital. For each electronic form completed for a patient, a new encounter is created. Each will have a unique encounter_id and encounter_type. Forms could be completed by different departments (ie. drug pickup, visit with an HIV clinician, Diabetes visit, food package received), and will have an associated encounter_type (ie. ART Drug Regimen Pickup, Adult intake, food assistance, lab test, etc). Each encounter has an encounter type, date/time, location and provider.
What is an observation (obs)?
Within an encounter, different observations (aka obs) are recorded. Obs_ids are unique (like snowflakes). A new and unique obs_id is generated for every obs.
These are possible scenarios:
- One visit with one encounter without observations – Touch screen patient registration in Haiti
- One visit with one encounter with one observation – Touch screen patient registration in Rwinkwavu, Rwanda with weight recorded
- One visit with one encounter and many observations – HIV followup form
- One visit with multiple encounters and many observations – HIV followup form along with ART drug regimen pickup. This would show 2 encounters, where each encounter would have a different encounter id and encounter type.