Patient Merge

When a patient has been recorded twice in Communicare, use Patient Merge to combine the two records.

If the patient has been recorded more than twice, the merge can be used repeatedly to reduce the number of duplicate records one at a time.

During the merge, data is moved from the source patient's record into the destination patient's record, then the source patient record is deleted. In situations where data from the source patient also exists in the destination, the source data is discarded. For example, if the two records have different Medicare card numbers, the number from the destination patient is retained and the number from the source patient is discarded.

The following merge rules apply:
  • Biographics information:
    • The earliest recorded date of birth is always retained.
    • The source patient's group memberships are discarded. To determine if any group memberships need to be manually added to the merged patient record, review the source patient's group membership history in the patient record: on the Administration tab, click Advanced.
    • De-duplication numbers and brackets, for example, Fred Smith [1] that may have been added by import programs are removed. Similarly, CAUTION: POTENTIAL DUPLICATE warnings are also removed.
    • The Patient ID of the source patient is removed from the system when the merge is complete.
    • If either the source or destination patient's biographic data had been confirmed as reviewed, i.e. the username of the reviewer and date of review was recorded in the biographics, this information is discarded during the merge.
  • Clinical information:
    • If the same recall exists in the source and destination patients, the earlier recall is deleted and the later one is retained. In other words, where recalls are duplicated in the two records the recall is effectively moved to the later recall date. The only exception to this rule is if a recall has a comment. Commented recalls are never deleted.
    • NCSR alerts - alerts for the source patient are moved to the destination patient. If alerts exist for both the source and destination patient, whichever alert is the most recent is retained.
    • Other clinical data is combined, which may result in some duplication of information. The priority of the merge is to combine data from both sources with no loss, it is better to have a little duplication than to possibly lose valuable data. For example, if a procedure has been performed once but recorded in both patient records there will be duplicate entries.
  • Medications:
    • Regular and once-off (either prescription or medication order) medications belonging to the source patient are moved to the destination patient.
    • Prescription IDs are updated and where there are duplicates, all but the latest regular medications with the same product, form, and pack combinations are stopped.
    • Medication requests and medication groups:
      • Inventory records are moved from the source patient to the destination patient
      • Medication requests are stopped and then moved from the source patient to the destination patient
      • Medication group numbers are recalculated
      • Medication group version records are moved from the source patient to the destination patient
      • If a medication request is part of a consolidated order, the consolidated order items are moved from the source to the destination patient. The consolidated order shows a status of Error status iconError.
    • Medications are listed on the Medication Summary and on the Detail tab of the destination patient.
    • The Medication Summary lists only the latest regular medication for a patient.
  • Invoice information:
    • Invoices generated against the source patient are changed to the destination patient, with the default payer of the destination patient remaining the same. If the default payer of the source patient is the source patient themself, the default payer is changed to the destination patient. Otherwise it will remain the same.

If you are completing a routine audit of your records, you can browse for potential duplicates. See Browse For Duplicate Patient Records.

After you have identified the records that you want to merge:
  1. Select Patient > Merge.
  2. In the Patient Merge window, click Select Source Patient.
  3. In the Select the patient to move data FROM window, search for the patient record, select it in the list and click Select Patient.
  4. In the Patient Merge window, click Select Destination Patient.
  5. In the Select the patient to move data TO window, search for the patient record, select it in the list and click Select Patient.
  6. In the Patient Merge window, click Merge Source into Destination.
  7. In the Confirm Patient Merge window, type merge and click OK.
  8. Click OK and Close.
The patient records are merged.
Important: Review all patient details after merging to ensure that everything is correct and up-to-date.

Errors can occur for a variety of reasons. When an error occurs, carefully read the error message and consider what it means and what needs to be done to resolve it. If you need assistance, contact Communicare Support.

You may encounter the following errors:
  • Address 'From' date may not be before date of birth. - the source patient has an address record that is before the date of birth of the destination patient, so when the records are merged it appears as though we knew his address before he was born! Typically, this error occurs when an adult's record is being merged into a child's record, which would not normally be necessary. If the merge is still required, manually edit the address from dates in the source patient to be consistent with the date of birth (or date of death) of the destination patient.
  • Patient status history may also be inconsistent in the same way as above. If this is the case we recommend you contact Communicare Support for advice before attempting to edit the patient status history.
  • The source patient has a Centrelink card and number but the destination patient has No card specified - Communicare will leave No card alone but attempt to put the card number into the destination patient, causing an inconsistency that the database will report. Consider which is the correct data and manually edit the destination patient details before attempting to merge the patients.