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Please help a time poor newbie surgical trainee!

Question asked by medbeej on Apr 14, 2012
Latest reply on Apr 16, 2012 by GuyStevens


Please help a time poor newbie surgical trainee!


I'm a junior paediatric surgical trainee and i'm trying to set up a filemaker database to keep track of patients I've seen and whose care I've been involved in.  I have just purchased Filemaker Pro 12 and have downloaded the associated Filemaker Go for iPad app.

I have identified the following fields (arranged into tables that I think make sense, but am happy to be corrected):


Demographic Table

  • Patient ID (this is the unique patient identifier)
  • UR Number (the hospital's pt identifier, but given i'll be working across multiple hospitals I will need to allocate my own identifier)
  • Last Name
  • First Name
  • Date of birth
  • Age (calculated from date of birth)
  • Street
  • Suburb
  • State
  • Country
  • Postal Code
  • Mobile phone number
  • Home phone number
  • Parent1 Last name
  • Parent1 First name
  • Parent2 Last name
  • Parent2 First name


Admission Details Table

  • Patient ID (the same unique identifier as above)
  • Admission ID (do I need this field? - each patient needs to be able to have multiple admissions. I'm thinking of trying to make a one (patient ID) to many (admission ID) relationship)
  • Admission date
  • Discharge date
  • Ward
  • Bed number
  • Diagnosis
  • Admission history
  • Birth history
  • Past history
  • Family history
  • Social history
  • Physical examination
  • Investigation results
  • Progress
  • Plan
  • Tasks
  • (NB: from "Diagnosis" to "Tasks", these are all just simple text fields)


Operation Details Table

  • Patient OR admission ID ?? (see next point)
  • Operation ID (do I need this field? - each patient needs to be able to have multiple operations in the one admission. I'm thinking of trying to make a one (patient or admission ID) to many (operation ID) relationship)
  • Procedure region (body region of operation)
  • Operation
  • Role in operation
  • Details of operation
  • Operation date (date field)
  • Time since operation (calculated from operation date, preferably displayed in days and weeks/months and years)
  • Complication
  • Complication severity
  • Complication details
  • Photo field (photo placeholder)
  • (NB: other than those indicated above, the other fields are text fields or simple drop down menus)
I am getting stuck on the building of relationships between the tables.  Essentially I need to have one patient be able to have multiple admissions, and have each admssion for a given patient to be capable of having multiple operations during that admission.  Each admission ID needs to be assigned to a patient ID, and each operation ID needs to be assigned to an admission ID (and hence connected to a patient ID).  Am I being too ambitious?
In the end, I would like to be able to use the database on my iPad at work, so I would like to create a single user interface (layout).  In the interface I envision having the Demographic Table details displayed permanently in the upper part of the layout, while Admission Details and Operation Details tables in the lower part and (preferably) in a tabbed arrangement to allow alternating between the two.
If I can achieve that initial set up I would be absolutely thrilled and any help with pointers in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.
Other goals for the database, but perhaps I can build these in later:
  • I would also like to be able to identify which patients are current inpatients (I'm assuming this would be based on their discharge date)
  • In the admission and operation tabs of the user interface/layout, I would like to be able to click through admissions & operations (in order of most recent to most distant; presumably by sorting records by date)
  • Be able to create reports of that include fields from all three tables (eg: list of current inpatients, operations during a particular time frame)
I have had a crack at setting this database up, but just keep running into things I can't figure out, and surgical training unfortunately makes getting past these troubles hard!!  I really appreciate any help that can be offered.