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E-Forms

Everything you need to know about E-Forms in OSCAR

 

 

 eForms button

click the button to browse the shared E-Forms database

(see disclaimer below)

 

 

 

 

What are E-Forms?

E-forms (electronic forms) are arguably the most enabling EMR feature for OSCAR users. In simple terms E-Forms is a module for "plug-ins" in OSCAR to allow users to upload their own bits of code (HTML) to their OSCAR system.

The initial intention was to provide doctors with an elegant do-it-yourself electronic solution to manage the never-ending avalanche of new paper forms coming at them from all directions. Doctors actually spend a large part of their work hours filling in paper forms, such as lab or x-ray requisition forms, referral forms for services for their patients and bureaucratic forms, ranging from special authority coverage forms to handicapped parking permits.  E-forms then are the electronic answer to this problem, as they are stored electronically right in the OSCAR server, can be optionally loaded into patient charts and auto-populate with the patient's demographic and some clinical information, from the OSCAR database. Once completed and finalized E-forms can be printed or even electronically faxed (on systems set up for this), and saved on the patient's chart as a record. They can be re-printed again in future if desired.

In the most basic form an eForm is a simple scanned image of a paper form in the background, with electronic HTML form elements superimposed on top of this, that allow the user to import text from the OSCAR database or type their own.

Note: Electronic forms are often referred to as "Templates" in other EMR systems. In the OSCAR community we prefer calling them "E-Forms" to avoid confusing electronic forms functionality with free-text templates (boilerplate text), an entirely different bit of useful functionality described elsewhere.

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Complex E-Forms:

From these humble beginnings some E-Forms have evolved into very complex and powerful tools with clinical applications and medical decision support functionality. Good examples are the Complex Care Plan, the CKD Advisor (for managing chronic kidney disease) and the STOPP-START form contributed by Dr David Page (linked examples for viewing only - to download please see below). The power of E-Forms is that they can be created by physicians themselves, as long as there is some basic (and sometimes a little more than basic) understanding of HTML and JavaScript, and shared freely among the user community.

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Download E-Forms shared by other OSCAR users:

You can download hundreds of shared E-Forms, clinical and government forms developed by the OSCAR community, and plug them into your OSCAR system. Please note that shared E-Forms come with absolutely no guarantees or warranty. Please see our DISCLAIMER below.
  • Click here to learn how to download E-Forms from this site and plug them into your system. You can also download PDF instructions on how to import zipped E-Forms here, and E-Forms that are not zipped here.
  • To access the database of user contributed E-Forms available for download from this site click here.
  • Another very easy way to load new user contributed E-Forms into your OSCAR system is via the eForm emporium. As of OSCAR v9.12 or newer, you can easily access this by simply clicking the "download eForm" tab in your "manage E-Forms" window. Keep in mind however that E-Forms shared via the eForm emporium are, just like the ones posted on this site, contributed by users, provided "as is" (not vetted by OCUS or by the OSCAR developers), and many of them are province or location specific. The UI of the eForm emporium is still in the early stages of development, so it is still just a simple list of available E-Forms, not sorted by category or form type. If you want to search it, try CTRL+F in your browser.

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Do it yourself. Build your own E-Forms!

OSCAR users can easily learn to create basic E-Forms themselves.

  • How to use the OSCAR eForm Generator: Download PDF. There is also a YouTube clip on using it here
  • How to prepare the background images for E-Forms you are creating:
      • Using Photoshop to prepare background image
      • Using GIMP to prepare background image. (GIMP can be downloaded for free from here)
  • How to build HTML E-Forms from scratch, without the E-Form generator: Click here. For more HTML eForm building resources click here.
  • To manually download Shelter Lee's powerful eForm Generator to use from the desktop outside OSCAR click here. (for older versions of OSCAR - the newer versions come with the eForm generator pre-installed)
  • For a comprehensive list of all the available eForm database tags (the bits of code that tell your eForm to fetch specific bits of data from your OSCAR EMR system and plug it into the form) click here..
  •  E-Forms under development and not yet production ready can be found here.
  • To learn how to edit existing E-Forms by copying and pasting the HTML markup, click here.

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Sharing the E-Forms you made back to the community:

One of the great things about being part of the open source OSCAR community is the ability to share the work you have done, so that others can benefit from this too. It is very rewarding to see your innovations make a difference for others. For this reason there are a number of our members who build a lot of great E-Forms and share them on this site. At OCUS we would like to encourage our members to embed a statement of authorship and a copy of the disclaimer posted at the bottom of this page into the head of their form (in the markup, as text commented out) when they share it back to the community. We would also recommend that the more complex clinical E-Forms be protected with a suitable Creative Commons share-alike free software license embedded.

If you have an eForm you would like to share back to the community, please post it to the "advanced user" OSCAR email discussion list for review (you can subscribe here), or send us an email at OscarCanadaUserSociety@gmail.com.

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eForm bug reports:

If you come across problems with an eForm you downloaded from this site, please submit a brief bug report, containing a description of your problem along with the URL where you found the form on this site, to the "advanced user" email OSCAR discussion list (you can subscribe here). The "advanced user" discussion list was set up specifically to aid in eForm development and troubleshooting, so as not to overwhelm the regular discussion list with technical eForm related mail traffic. Many of our enthusiastic eForm experts in the community hang out on this list and they are always keen to help debug a wayward eForm.

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Wider implications:

While E-Forms are incredibly powerful tools for OSCAR users, there recently has been some concern voiced by a variety of developers and OSCAR support providers about the potential for eForm malfunction and the attendant risks for medical-legal exposure related to such malfunction. Core OSCAR program developers have been concerned about the implications for provincial EMR validation testing and ISO certification. OSCAR support providers have voiced concerns about increases in support calls due to malfunctioning or poorly designed E-Forms. There have been some calls for central quality control and some kind of control to govern the scope of what OSCAR users may do with E-Forms.

At OCUS we understand these concerns, but disagree with them. Since we are physicians ourselves we understand that decision support is not decision management. We know that we are ultimately accountable for the the clinical decisions we make for our patients, no matter what happens in the EMR or in plug-in elements of the EMR. This is generally also the position taken by provincial physician colleges. We are still a long way away from seeing an EMR system that can take over patient care from the doctor.

On the other hand the ability to create bits of plug-in functionality ourselves as users, with our OSCAR system as the platform for this, is one of the truly enabling features of this EMR. User created and shared E-Forms are an example of how the four freedoms of open source software meet the world of electronic medical records in a real-world scenario; our core values in action. To hobble this ability would be to defeat the purpose of OSCAR.

With great power comes great responsibility. Physician OSCAR users understand that.

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E-FORM DISCLAIMER:

 

  • As is: E-Forms are shared "as-is" free of charge on a share-alike basis with absolutely no guarantee or warranty.

  • No Quality Control: We at OCUS do not vet any E-Forms and do not purport to apply any manner of quality control. We strongly encourage end-users to subject all the E-Forms loaded on their system to a thorough testing process and quality review themselves, before using them on real live patient charts.

  • Responsibility: The responsibility for the clinical and medical-legal consequences of any and all E-Forms, rest with the OSCAR end-users themselves. This applies to both E-Forms shared by others, and those created by users themselves.

  • Attribution: E-Forms are shared freely among the user community, with attribution to the original author of the eForm.
  • Free: E-Forms so shared may not be bought or sold.
  • Provincial validation:  E-Forms are optional and non-essential add-ons, separate from OSCAR, and each with their own license terms. E-Forms are not part of OSCARs core program functionality and code base. For this reason E-Forms are not subject to provincial validation testing and conformance criteria. E-Forms are also not subject to the ISO production process for OSCAR.

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Text block version of DISCLAIMER (for pasting into eForm markup):

E-FORM DISCLAIMER: As is: E-Forms are shared as-is, free of charge on a share-alike basis with absolutely no guarantee or warranty. No Quality Control: The author does not vet any E-Forms and does not purport to apply any manner of quality control. Responsibility: The responsibility for the clinical and medical-legal consequences of any and all E-Forms, rest with the clinical OSCAR end-users themselves, not with the author of the eForm. This applies to both E-Forms shared by others, and those created by users themselves. Attribution: E-Forms are shared freely among the user community, with attribution to the original author of the eForm. Free: E-Forms so shared may not be sold or purchased. Provincial validation:  E-Forms are optional and non-essential add-ons, separate from OSCAR, and with their own license terms.E-Forms  are not part of the OSCAR core program functionality and code base. For this reason E-Forms are not subject to provincial validation testing and conformance criteria. E-Forms are also not subject to the ISO production process for OSCAR.

 

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