End User Created Reports
MedFlex has a wealth of reports. Often the sheer quantity of different reports can be daunting to the MedFlex user. We often recommend that people call us with what management question they are trying to answer and we will recommend which report in MedFlex can answer that management need.
As a simple illustration: often people new to MedFlex are not used to the idea MedFlex has a fully active and integrated General Ledger. Thus we may get a call is there anyway to see what my orthotics vs my prosthetic sales were. While there are a couple of places in the AR reporting where you can do this, most users over-look that these numbers are right on any profit and loss report they could run in the general ledger. You can also use that profit and loss to measure the effectiveness of your contract definition since the ledger records gross sales - initial non-allowed (the contractual allowance known up at the time the Invoice was billed) and additional non-allowed. The ratio between initial vs additional non-allowed is a direct measurement over time of how well your contracts are defined.
The above just illustrates that it is by far the best procedure before thinking you even need an end-user constructed report to call MedFlex and describe what you want to know.
Sometimes, there are times, when a user won't find what they want in the built-in reports or they like to see things presented a different way and want to construct their own. MedFlex has 2 different ways to do this.
Flexodbc is a product you can purchase that lets you access the MedFlex database with any ODBC compliant application. One example of an ODBC compliant application is the Microsoft Access Database product that comes with Windows Office Professional. Access can make a very powerful tool for end-user reporting.
Crystal Reports is another product you can purchase with a 'connectivity kit' option that you can use with your MedFlex database. This is one of the most popular report writers in corporate use today. Many of the MedFlex reports are actually written in Crystal Reports.
There are caveats to end-user reporting. The biggest of these is the learning curve. Most office people are used to and in fact think in terms of spreadsheets. A spreadsheet has it's place but the MedFlex system consists of many separate tables in what is called a '3rd normal form' relational database structure. This disciplined approach to reality modeling in a database is one of the strengths that set MedFlex apart from its competitors. Where many of our competitors have one table containing the patient's address, insurance, guarantor, doctor, and marketing information, we have 5 tables. Ours is a 3rd normal form design and theirs is not. While I'll be happy to describe why this makes MedFlex better the point is that if you want to do end-user reporting and do not have prior experience with 3rd normal form database structures this learning curve will be very real to you.
If this describes you and you still want to do end-user reporting with the MedFlex database then what I would recommend before spending money on either Flexodbc or Cyrstal Reports that you obtain Microsoft Access and a tutorial book for Access from the library and work through the tutorial. They will discuss and have you work through database designs up to and including 3rd normal form structures. Once you have that knowledge and are still comfortable and want do to end-user reporting call MedFlex and we can start educating you on the MedFlex database structure.
One example of how one of our users used Flexodbc was their need for regional reporting. They constructed summary of operations reports that summarized all manner of totals by region which were groupings of their locations. In another case one client just wanted to see the scheduling report differently. Since this was a Crystal Report to start with he used Crystal to modify and create his own version of that report.
One other thing to remember in writing your end-user reports is that when MedFlex does upgrades we don't make any promises that your custom written reports will work after a MedFlex upgrade. This is because we may have changed data elements in our tables to add new features. While we normally tack these new fields onto the end of our tables to prevent problems, sometimes new features require changing existing fields in our tables or adding new elements changing the order of fields in a table.