Creating your own letter templates in Genie has many benefits, including saving you time, reducing the potential for human error in data entry, and boosting your practice’s professional image, to name a few.
But with so much flexibility in customising your letter templates, you may feel overwhelmed with where to start—especially considering the multitude of places Genie can pull its information from.
In order to ensure your letters are created with the information you expect every time it’s important to ensure you understand how Genie populates its information.
Genie is developed to be as intuitive as it can, and as such, there are some assumptions that it makes when creating referral/reply and merged letters. Some of the more commonly made assumptions that you should be aware of are listed below:
- If a letter is opened from a patient’s appointment: Any references on the letter to an appointment date will reflect the date of the appointment you raised the letter from.
- If a letter is opened from a procedure record in a patient's clinical window: Any references on the letter to room or procedure details will reflect what is recorded for that procedure.
- If a letter is opened from a clinical record: Any references on the letter to appointment date will firstly try to pull information for the nearest future appointment, and if none exists, will pull the date for the most recent past appointment.
- If you open a 'red quill' letter for a patient who has both a Usual GP and a Referring Doctor in their demographic window, you will be prompted to choose the recipient of the letter out of these two doctors. If there are multiple referrers, you will also be prompted to choose which referrer. If the patient only has a referrer or only has a GP, Genie will by default address the letter to the doctor listed in the patient's demographic record. If there is no referrer or GP listed for the patient, you will be prompted to search the Address Book for a recipient. The recipient's information will then appear at the top of the letter writing window, and will influence fields you have included in the template. For example, if you have used the Field ‘FullAddress’ from under ‘AddressBook’, this will populate the recipient's address. So, for referral/reply letters, if you have chosen to send this to the Usual GP, the Usual GP's address will populate this Full Address field.
The Expressions tab at the top left of the letter writing window contains a list of options to ‘Load’ different records. Double clicking on these 'load' options will override the information that has already been pulled into the Expressions or Fields on your template for some select fields and expressions with alternate information of your choosing. It is possible to change which record fields like [AddressBook]Full Address are pulled from by utilising one of the ‘Load’ Expressions.
A few examples where the 'load' options should be utilised are listed below:
- If a letter includes the field ‘FullAddress’, and you have selected to send the letter to the usual GP, the template will automatically load the full address listed in the patient’s usual GP’s address book record. However, by clicking the ‘Load Referring Dr’ Expression, this will change the text to that of the address for the referring doctor. Please keep in mind that if you would like both the Referring Doctor and usual GP's full address to populate in the one letter, you would need to use two different expressions for this, not just the [AddressBook]Full Address, as this field can only pull its information from one record in Genie at a time.
- If you have included the Expression ‘Room’ in your template, this will load the next room that the patient has a procedure booked in, or, if the patient has no procedures, the room for the appointment that the letter was raised from. This can be overridden with the ‘Load Next Appointment’ expression which will change this to whatever is entered in the room column for the next appointment the patient has booked.
- One of the most common records users face confusion over is procedure records. Unless a letter template is loaded directly from a procedure record or from an appointment that has a procedure attached Genie will load the next future procedure for that patient (assuming they have one). This may not be desired though if you are wishing to produce a letter in relation to a procedure that has already been performed. In these instances the 'Load Procedure' expression can be used which will bring up a list of all associated procedures for that patient both past, present and future. Selecting the desired procedure will ensure the related procedure fields will populate with the correct information.
- If you have included the field [ApptDate] in your letter template and you are opening the letter from a particular appointment in the appointment book Genie by default will populate that information (seems logical right?). There will be instances though where you wish to reference a previous or future appointment instead so in this instance you would utilise the 'Load Appointment' expression to choose your desired appointment.
So you've created your letter template with all your desired fields and expressions only to discover the information you were expecting to see populated hasn't appeared? Where have you gone wrong? Well there a few potential reasons you might not be seeing the results you expect.
1. Have you included the appropriate field?
In order to determine whether you have included the necessary field you should check your references. To do this you should select the references icon (or through View > References). This button allows you to toggle the view between having references turned on and off. Once you have turned your references on you will see what fields and expressions you have included on your template:
2. The reference is there but nothing displays
If you have included the reference but still nothing is displaying it is likely that the information does not exist within Genie. In the above example you can see a reference has been included for <<[Patient]KnownAs>>. If this information hasn't been entered in the patient's demographic window then Genie obviously has no information to populate and thus, will leave this blank.
3. Only some of the expected information is displaying
If you use the Current Problem or Past History expression you might be confused as to why some of the patient's clinical history doesn't seem to be displaying. Within a patient's clinical record it is possible to mark both current problems and past history as being confidential. Doing so results in that confidential record being excluded from the information referenced on letters.