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In the medical field, “patient registration” can refer to two different topics. One involves the collection of data about new patients to start generating a patient record. The other involves collecting information to use in computer-assisted surgery, where very detailed and accurate medical imaging studies are necessarily to guide the computer accurately and safely in surgery. The meaning intended is typically clear from the context.
Patient registration when entering a new hospital, clinic, or treatment center is routine. Patients will need to fill out an admission form with basic information about them and their medical history. In addition, they will need to provide contact information. The hospital also needs payment guarantees, including a designation of the party responsible for payment, and information about insurance billing, if the patient carries insurance to cover health care expenses.
During the patient registration process, patients will need access to their insurance cards to record data. The form should be detailed and complete, and patients should make sure they update it when something changes, like their address or important aspects of their medical history. The form will ask about any chronic diseases, like diabetes, along with the patient's history of childbearing and other major medical events, if applicable. In an emergency situation, a patient may go through to treatment without registration, but a friend or family member needs to complete the forms, and the patient must verify the information later. When a patient has no assistants and his identity is not known, the hospital can set up a temporary registration.
In surgery, patient registration involves creating a set of reference images with medical imaging equipment and recording the images in a digital format for the computer to map out. The computer can do things like pinpoint the site of a tumor. This will provide very useful feedback in surgery. In neurosurgery, for example, diseased tissue may look similar to healthy tissue, and a handheld device can alert the surgeon when she is near the site of a tumor so she can remove it.
This form of patient registration provides a detailed reference about the patient's body. The information goes into the patient's chart and can be useful in the future for other procedures as well as followup appointments, where the surgeon may want to check on whether a growth responded to treatment. In some cases, it may run through a proprietary algorithm unique to a particular computer system, but the raw data is still available in case it is needed.
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