This chapter discusses the various ways to retrieve and input information. Getting familiar with the various ways to do this in OpenVPMS will help you navigate the system effectively. It turns out that finding and entering information rely heavily on one thing in OpenVPMS: searching.

There are numerous times that you might want to find information in OpenVPMS. Let's start with the simple case of looking up a user. Keep in mind, that this same strategy can be used for looking up prouducts, patients, and almost every other type of information you might be looking for.

Here's the select box in the patients section. You can get to this by clicking Patients->Select.

There are several elements here. Let's discuss each one.

First, you'll notice the search box. This is where you can enter the actual text that you're looking for.

Second, there is a series of tick boxes. Each tick box is to the right of the item it represents. Note that in the screenshot, the "All Patients" tick box is checked. This means that this search will search throughout all of the patients in the database. This is meaningful because the default in the system is to search through all the patients for the current customer. If no customer is selected, it will look through all the patients however.

Next, we see the Find button. You will see this button throughout the system. It's very important. Sometimes, it means that you'll initiate a search, and sometimes it will re-run an existing search that happens to be on the screen.

enlightenedTip: Get in the habbit of clicking the find button when you see it on the screen. This will refresh the information that is displayed. 

At the bottom of the dialog box, you'll see the Cancel and New buttons. The Cancel button will close the window and stop the current search. The New button is there for convenience. If you happen to be looking for something that isn't in the system yet, you can click this to add that item.

Imagine that we're creating an appointment for a new patient. Maybe we're not sure that it's a new patient, so we search. Having not found the patient we're looking for, we can click New right from that screen to add the patient to the database. This is a convience feature because there is another (longer) way to add a patient that is discussed in the Patient section.

After clicking Find, you will see a list of all results in the system that match the criteria you've specified.


What if we only know part of the thing we're looking for? This could make it difficult to find a particular item. Not to worry, OpenVPMS has a mechanism for searching for just part of a string. In order to do this, we use the wildcard character "%". Take the following example:

In this example, we were sure that our patient was "something" Vader, but couldn't remember the first part. To search for "something", simply put a "%" in the search string, as shown in the screenshot. Note that it has returned Darth Vader as a result. And before you ask, yes, this cat is actually named Darth Vader.

It also turns out that there is an implied "%" at the end of every search string. That means that these two search strings are identical: "%Vader" and "%Vader%". This again is for convenience. Generally, you would only need to type the first couple letters of the thing you're searching for and it will come up. If I'm looking for all the patients starting with "Fi", I can just enter "fi" and I'll get a list of "Fido", "Fidette", "Fidel" or any other "Fi%" name.

enlightenedTip: Searches are case insensitive. You don't need to capitalize anything.

enlightenedTip: You can hit enter instead of clicking find to run the search. Once you've found the item you're looking for, you can click on it to select it.


There is another very frequent case that you'll be searching for information. These are lookups. There are many forms in the system that require you to enter information.

These fields are almost the same as the search dialog above, with one difference: searching is enabled right in the field you're trying to fill out. Let's take a look at an invoicing screen.

This screen is discussed in detail in the Customers section of the manual.

The point of interest right now, is the binocular symbols just to the right of the Patient, Product, and Clinician fields.

As you may have guessed, clicking on the binoculars brings up the search dialog from above. You should have no problem finding items by clicking on the binocular, and the following the instructions above.

However, that can be tedious if you're entering a lot of data. So, the designers of OpenVPMS have made it easier by adding a shortcut. You don't have to click on the binoculars if you already know a little bit about what you're looking for.

Let's say that the patient Tiny needs a Collar. In order to add that to the invoice, I can simply type in the first couple letters and then hit enter.

If there are more than one thing that start with the letters I'd typed in, then it will display a list of possible matches. The same thing applies for any field with binoculars next to it. Many fields you'll use over and over.

For instance, if each Doctor's name starts with a different letter, you can simply type the first letter and hit enter in the Clinician field shown here. Also, the same restrictions as in the default search dialog apply. So, searching for a patient in this field, will limit the search to patients of the current client. All of these restrictions are designed to make using the system more efficient. Give it a try and see!

enlightenedTip: There's no need to go to the search dialog if the binoculars are there to help you.

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