In the Patient Workspace section of WinOMS, the date of a patient's first visit is automatically populated with the date that patient's account is actually created, which may not be the same date that the patient actually presents for their first encounter.
Is there any way to have the "First Visit" field automatically populate with the first time a charge/encounter is created? This way, it doesn't appear as though a new patient may have been already seen simply because their account was created before the date of their encounter.
Currently the only way for it to work somewhat like your question would be to make the patient a "walkin" on the scheduler ,and when they do come for the treatment visit converting them from walkin to actual patient will have that as the first visit date.
I agree, need to link the first visit to when encounter or charges are associated with pt, not when they are converted. We need to convert the pt well before their first actual visit to attach all referrals, patient registrations, make alerts, contact notes, dock to doctors to review certain cases prior to arrival of pt etc.
I agree that the way first visit dates are being generated is too inflexible, and I'd like to see that change in the future. It was originally based on the way offices who depended on paper and manila folder charts managed their new patient workflow. It assumed that front desk staff was creating "walkins" for all new patients and not converting them into "actual patients" until they showed up in the office for their appointment. This prevented wasting the expensive folder (often times prenumbered) and also kept the patient database small. Of course, those reasons don't really matter anymore.
Currently the first visit date will automatically populate when the patient is created (or when the walkin is converted to a patient). This affects any report that shows patient counts by month as well as the referral's history of patients (as ccronin points out). The benefits of having a patient record available prior to the actual first visit (rather than the limited walkin record) is as crystal suggests, allows you to "attach all referrals, patient registrations, make alerts, contact notes, dock to doctors to review certain cases prior to arrival of pt etc."
I think it would be appropriate for the first visit date to be the "date of first appointment" or the "date of first charges posted" -- something like that. In any event, I think it could be something that a practice chooses as a setting in Practice Preferences.
What do you think?