What is the difference between a visit/case number and an encounter number?
You may hear these two terms used during conversations with the health system. The importance of each really will depend on your workflow and your goals for tracking data. A visit/case number represents a single, specific appointment or surgical case. An encounter number can represent a single appointment but is more often used to bundle together a set of appointments related to a single event. In the case of a surgery, a patient’s pre-op evaluation, surgical case, and post-op visit could all have the same encounter number but different visit numbers. For some EHRs, the encounter number is preferred for them to be able to file information in a specific place in the patient charts.
Cool – the visit/case number sounds like what I need. Will the appointment always have the same visit/case number if it’s been rescheduled?
This depends on the EHR workflow for handling appointment rescheduling. If the EHR uses a true reschedule workflow, the visit or case number is usually retained. If the EHR uses a cancel/new workflow where the old appointment is cancelled and then a new one is made, the visit number may change.