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Every reporting system or analytic system should have something called a save report capability. Call these standing reports. There are different words for it. The basic concept is that if you do something, you can keep whatever you did, whether running a particular report and making some changes to it. You may also customize, add fields, or create something entirely from scratch so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time.

The issue with reusing report data

For most reports that we want to generate, we’re going to reuse some data. There are certainly exceptions, but most of them you reuse. Even when it may be different, you may start from a template you created or something where you already did 80% of the work and modify that slightly or use that to extract the information.

You can’t even personalize or customize the reports in some systems, much less create them entirely from scratch. Maybe, you can add a filter or set a date range or something similar like that. In that case, there’s not that much work that you do each time to pull reports because there’s not that much that you can do. While annoying, it does minimize the amount of work you have to do each time.

There are some situations where they may have 1,000 pre-built reports templates, and you have to search through 412 of those to find the one you want. That’s incredibly frustrating, so it would be nice to be able to save or change the name or do something where you keep that report to say, “This is my month-end report.” Or you select the six that matter to you and save those into a group and call those “Month-End Reports.” It’s impossible to run at the end of the month without having to dig. It’s also extremely time-consuming to recall which ones were which, or figure out what to run each day, each week, each month, or whatever that is.

Reporting system capabilities

Whether they are billing systems, EMRs, or existing reporting systems, some reporting systems have much more capability. It might take you a long time to get one out of the system because you’re either creating reports from scratch or significantly modifying existing reports. The problem is that you have to do it all over again next month or next week.

You keep pushing that rock up the hill over and over again. Hours and hours get wasted. I can’t tell you how many people we’ve spoken to have run into this issue where the problem isn’t that they cannot get the information. It takes so much work to get the data, and there’s no way to save it. They have to do it repeatedly that they want to stab themselves with a fork. It should be more accessible.

There are three general groups that systems fall into when it comes to reporting. Some systems are not capable of doing any customized reports, systems such as Kareo. It’s possible to change the date range or something similar like that or put it on a filter there, but you really can’t change anything in the report. In addition, you can’t add a field, nor can you write a report from scratch or pull from varying tables.

The second type of system, and there are many such systems, you may have some ability to create custom reports or modify reports significantly, but you cannot save those reports. You have to reinvent the wheel constantly.

The third category is the most frustrating one. It’s the ones that can save, but it doesn’t work. Consider AdvancedMD. They say that they can save reports. Yet, if you go and contact their customer support, they will effectively throw up their hands and say, “Well, it doesn’t work. We give up.” As a result, many practice directors, practice managers, billing managers, and even analysts waste so much time and so many hours every month, just trying to get the essential information needed to run the practice or the business effectively in what reports are wanted. That’s before anybody even gets to do anything with the reports.

In summary

Be careful if you are looking at a new system or you’re evaluating a system. Many systems don’t have good capabilities when it comes to this particular feature. It’s something most people don’t think about: If you get a flashy demo, “Oh great! It looks like it has all the information,” and you don’t realize how many hours you’ll have to put in every month to get what you want out of it.

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