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Redesigned (Data-Friendly) Electronic Medical Notes Allow Automated Extraction of Clinical Data and Completion of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons' Annual Statistics Survey
Jose G. Christiano, MD.
University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA.

PURPOSE: The American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ Annual Statistics Questionnaire (ASPS-ASQ) is a survey sent to physicians who perform plastic surgery procedures. Those willing to complete the survey face a laborious and time-consuming task. We hypothesized that using redesigned "data-friendly" electronic medical notes (DFNs), text data extraction software (TDES), and spreadsheet software, data could be automatically extracted from providers’ operative notes, analyzed, and reconciled for automated reporting of the ASPS-ASQ.
METHODS: 118 fictitious operations were created, covering all 259 questions of the 2014 ASPS-ASQ. Each one of them was documented 10 times in our institutions’ EMR system as DFNs, which allow customary documentation in prose, but contain specific text prompts mapped to key text data (variables), that can be later recognized/retrieved by a TDES. Sixteen primary variables were assigned for retrieval (patient demographics, procedural specifics). The DFNs were exported to the TDES for data accrual. The resulting database was imported to a pre-programmed Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, to provide specific answers to the ASPS-ASQ.
RESULTS: The TDES analyzed all 1,180 operative notes, generating a database containing 29,020 clinical data points (15,550 representing 16 primary variables). This database was analyzed by our Excel spreadsheet, which was able to provide specific answers to all questions in the 2014 ASPS-ASQ, except for those about cosmetic fees (55) and recurrent aesthetic patients (1).
CONCLUSION: Using DFN design for operative notes, TDES and spreadsheet software, we were able to automate reporting for the 2014 ASPS-ASQ, with the exception of questions on physician fees and recurrent patients.


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