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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What do you call that?

You know, that thing that has the same name as itself because it can be composed of smaller versions of itself?  Like an order, which can have sub-orders, or a section which can have subsections.  Except that they only go so deep for the most part.  But when you talk about them, you have to be careful or you wind up with confusion as to what level you are at in which point in time.

In this particular case, what I'm looking to identify is a line item on an order, in a way that is quite clear to everyone what is meant.  The challenge is that the notion of order, as one transfers from a CPOE system to other systems can actually involve several separate orders being distributed external to the CPOE system.

I think the right way to describe what is entered into the CPOE system is to use the term "requisition", that being the list of things that the provider wants to give or administer or have done to/for the patient.  And the right way to describe the external results of the CPOE process are the generation of one or more orders related to that single requisition.  But I find people who are comfortable with the CPOE process or with the order reciept process to all be very comfortable with their own notion of what an order is, even though they have different "views" of it.

It's all very confusing, and sometimes I wish English was more precise, and sometimes I wish people were more precise, and sometimes, well, sometimes, I just don't care what it is called, just so long as we both understand what we are talking about.  But it would be nice if there were a single word for that having just the right nuance that everyone understood.



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