13 Replies Latest reply on Nov 28, 2016 5:23 AM by erolst

    Surgical case tracking. is it possible?


      Hey all

      I am a soon to be graduated orthopedic surgery resident. I have been looking for a way to create a comprehensive database of cases that I perform throughout my career. Im looking for something that I can use to track specifics about a surgery and be able to retrieve them in the future to review similarities with other cases.


      More specifically- I am going to be a hip and knee replacement surgeon.

      I want to be able to log cases with metadata or tags and photos and specifics of each patient.

      Then in the future when I have a similar case I can look it up by the implant I used or the specifics of that case.

      Lets say I want to pull all of my hip replacements revision surgeries that were done for recurrent instability.  I could search for and pull all the cases that have that tag and then read the details about that case, look at X-rays I attached, etc...


      Does FileMaker do this?
      How hard would it be for me to create?



      Any tips from the pros?

      Im playing with the trial and want some insight before dropping the money for the real deal




        • 1. Re: Surgical case tracking. is it possible?

          Welcome to Filemaker Blake. This sounds like a highly specific application of FM, and if your question "Does FM do this?" implies: is there just such a specific application already in existence? then the answer is probably no. However, this is exactly what FM is excellent for—creating a totally individualised, specific purpose database tool to help you with your work. So my advice is (1) lash out the money when your trial runs out—and I would recommend spending the extra to buy FMAdvanced, since you plan to do a fair bit of developing, and the extra tools are well worth the extra cost; (2) try to get your head around database theory as much as you can as early as you can, as this may help you avoid some pitfalls; (3) build your database bit by bit, doing your best to build your grasp of FM logic as you go; (4) as you come up against issues, come onto this forum with specific questions—you'll get much more valuable assistance that way than if you just ask vague, general questions.

          Good luck!

          • 2. Re: Surgical case tracking. is it possible?

            bep207 wrote:

            Does FileMaker do this?

            Absolutely; in fact, on a higher abstraction level, this sounds exactly like what many other database solutions do (simply change the names of the things you're tracking, the relationships are the same, and so are the requirements). So don't worry that you're asking for anything outlandish.


            bep207 wrote:

            How hard would it be for me to create?

            Hard to tell; but if you can wrap your head around a few key concepts of relational databases in general, and FileMaker specifically, it shouldn't be too difficult. Some prior programming knowledge would help, but isn't strictly necessary.


            Well, keywords already said what there is to say. Welcome to the world of FileMaker(ing)!

            • 3. Re: Surgical case tracking. is it possible?

              Yes, FileMaker is a good framework for what you are wanting to do.  I love FileMaker, but there is a little bit of a learning curve.  However, people are are often able to help out if you ask.  There are some great trainings out there including the FileMaker Training Series, Lynda.com and VTC training.  But what is great about FileMaker is that it is a tool that has everything you need in one product to create such a database.  And it gives you the power to make it how you want it.


              Are you still in medical school?  If so, buy it before you leave to get the student discount!

              • 4. Re: Surgical case tracking. is it possible?

                Hi Blake


                We have worked with a number of UK surgeons for this very purpose, ironically one was for the treatment and removal of acoustic neuromas (vestibular schwannomas), which it turned out I had and after a 13 hour operation I ended up on the same database we've supported since 1985 - so I guess in some ways FileMaker was instrumental in saving my life. We've helped create and support other systems for other skull based surgery, as well as for medical research for diseases such as Parkinson's and other movement disorder based diseases.


                FileMaker is perfect for these types of systems as it is so flexible to accommodate change and its reporting capabilities are second to none - subject to knowing how use FileMaker's very powerful find facility.


                There are some traps you can fall into, so if you can make fields that you're likely to want to report on numerical rather than text entry, it will help you in the future when you commence analysis of your work . For example, it is very difficult to report against a tumour size containing entries of '<0.5', '0.5 to '1.0', '1.0 to 1.5', etc. Whereas if you can enter a numeric representation of these type of values, such as 1 (representing '<0.5', 2 (representing '0.5 to 1.0', etc.) you are less likely to accidentally end up with erroneous results.


                Another thing to remember, as you move through your career, nobody will enter the results of treatment as accurately as you will. We've seen so much delegation to nurses, interns, etc. and the recording accuracy can be pretty poor. The other thing that worries us, is how many treatment/medical decisions are made based on incorrect data. You can carry out a search and gain a result, but unless you then do the opporsite search you won't pick up whether there is something in your data that is skewing the results. For instance if you search for 'x' in 200 cases and your result is 50, then repeat the search for 'not x' and get a results of 175, then you've something amiss within the results that needs to be investigated.


                If you start this at the beginning of your career you will build up an incredibly valuable set of data. We're still analysing data for a surgeon who has retired from the UK NHS but still practices privately. He had to retrospectively load data from old case notes starting in the mid 1990s, but by 2000 was loading directly in a laptop while still in the operation theatre. He travels the World presenting (he is renouned in his field) and was president at the Royal Society. All the source information for this comes from the same FileMaker database created in 1995 - we're booked to extract more statistics from this early 2017.


                We wish you all the best with your plans and we'd be happy to pass on our experience of the last 20 years via this forum should you have any questions.


                First advice though is 'backup', 'backup', 'backup'!


                Kind regards


                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Surgical case tracking. is it possible?

                  I can help, I have  a system that also keeps up with details for the AJRR registry. You can email backchannel  scs@securecomputingsolutions.com -> Donna

                  thanks and look forward to hearing from you

                  • 6. Re: Surgical case tracking. is it possible?

                    I think the thing to keep in mind is that you don't have to get stuck with what you develop - you can change and improve it over time. Provided that you start amassing the data you need, as a newbie, I'd tell you to not be to overly concerned about getting it 100% right. You can continually grow and modify it until you get a working solution (trust me, the diehard DB guys are cringing at the idea of running with a poorly planned database).


                    I'd suspect you'd find sooner rather than later that you'll be using FM for much more then this one single project. Best of luck!

                    • 7. Re: Surgical case tracking. is it possible?

                      Oops, just reread this and spotted IOS keyboard typo, 1985 should read 1995



                      • 8. Re: Surgical case tracking. is it possible?

                        FileMaker would be the right platform for this IMO!

                        You are likely are already aware of this but most countries have strict rules about the storage of electronic medical records.  Just make sure you comply with your countries rules.  If you need to use encryption then buy FileMaker Pro Advanced because you can turn on database encryption with that.

                        1 of 1 people found this helpful
                        • 9. Re: Surgical case tracking. is it possible?

                          Carl, you've raised a good point about encryption. In the UK most NHS laptops have encryption enabled by the IT teams and any external storage, such as USB flash drives, are encrypted.




                          • 10. Re: Surgical case tracking. is it possible?


                            And don't forget account names and passwords and limiting what people can do.


                            I had to design a one record file for an iPad it could be handed to a user to fill out the medical info and then that would be uploaded to server. I used a few tricks to prevent a hacker from intercepting WiFi.


                            Yes, I could have linked to the main file on the server but who wants to worry about the user gaining access to other records?

                            • 11. Re: Surgical case tracking. is it possible?

                              Aaah, Jack Rodgers has finally returned. Missed your style.

                              • 12. Re: Surgical case tracking. is it possible?


                                May use that for poker.

                                • 13. Re: Surgical case tracking. is it possible?

                                  Self-styled Stylster