I often find myself having the same conversation with folks about the health of the data in MEDITECH’S Data Repository (DR). I remind them that if they use the DR for reporting, but don’t have a process to maintain data health and accuracy, then they shouldn’t be using DR. Keeping DR data healthy is easy, it’s just a matter of knowing what to do and when to do it. I’ve put together some of the more common guidelines our consultants use on a daily basis.
How do I know it's right?
One of the challenges in writing reports from MEDITECH Data Repository (or any system for that matter) is knowing for certain that you got it right. That not only means the data are accurate, but the person requesting the report is satisfied with the result too.
In our first Power BI blog, we introduced the Power BI platform and reviewed the desktop applications and cloud-based tools we can use to develop and share reports and dashboards. In this blog, we’ll look more specifically at the ins and outs of using Power BI with MEDITECH Data Repository.
MEDITECH’s Data Repository has come a long way since its inception over twenty years ago. In the early days of DR, usable front-end reporting tools were few and far between: Microsoft Access and Crystal Reports were common choices for many hospitals. Fast forward to 2021 however, and DR is an integral part of the MEDITECH EHR and report developers have a variety of tools to use: the ubiquitous SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) from Microsoft; MEDITECH’s BCA with MicroStrategy; and third-party software like Tableau and Qlik, among others.
I recently had a student from one of our online training sessions email me a few days after class, asking why I recommend always using the SourceID column as part of every TSQL join. They sent two queries to demonstrate why they felt they shouldn’t use SourceID.
So, in plain English, what is a T-SQL user-defined function? A function is a SQL query saved as a database object, which leverages and outputs data to serve a focused purpose. Once a function is created it easily can be utilized at any time by anyone with proper access. Measured creation and execution of functions will greatly streamline data production from your T-SQL environment, allowing technology to do what it’s supposed to - make our lives easier! Let’s start with a simple example to better explain why we should be using functions and illustrate different types.
MEDITECH's Data Repository best practices recommend a dedicated drive for tempdb data files, that the space allocated to this drive be 25-30% of total data space for the SQL Instance, and that the allocated space be split between eight data files and one log file. Is it possible to modify tempdb to meet these standards? Read on to learn how.
In part 1 of this blog, we discussed how to build a URL that could navigate to various resources on the internet. We learned how to build the URL string based on a combination of the website path and the data within our results. In part 2, we’ll look at a similar example of how to navigate to another SSRS report on our local network that resides in a different project folder. Using the same technique, we can build the navigation link and pass parameters into another report instead of using the default SSRS method which only links to reports in the same folder.
Part 1 - Navigating to an Internet site
One of the most obvious features of SQL Server Reporting Services is that the reports are presented to the user with a web browser. This means that SSRS natively has access to many of the same functional principles as most web pages and web sites. Specifically, this would include the use of hyperlinks (URLs) to easily navigate to other reports, web pages, or other web-based resources. How do we do that? With the Action property.
Technically speaking, MEDITECH's Data Repository is a typical relational database, in that it stores data in tables, uses primary key columns for referential integrity, and is interacted with using off-the-shelf tools like Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio. But there are several aspects that make it unique – and challenging to work with – all of which are important to understand if you’re a data analyst or report writer at a MEDITECH hospital.
One of my favorite features of SQL Server Reporting Services is the ability to provide a parameter with multiple values. This is a great way to give your users flexibility at runtime by allowing them to select one, two, several, or all values from a given list. It even has a built-in way to easily select and de-select all the possible values. A common scenario that would benefit from this is when you are going to publish a single report that could potentially be used by multiple locations or departments.