As our customers track increasingly sophisticated amounts of data about their patients in pMD, we’ve begun to receive requests to add more powerful reporting tools to the platform, in order to give those customers more insight into their practice. They’ve asked us to give them additional power to spot trends and problem areas, and the ability to easily define and monitor key metrics about the health of their patients, and their business. In response to this, we set out on a journey to build a modern, easy-to-use business intelligence (BI) tool within pMD.
A major challenge that software companies face when building any feature, but especially something as complex as an analytical reporting tool, is to create powerful functionality that is simultaneously extremely intuitive for the user. In my experience as an engineer, often the instinct when approaching a large problem space is to try to model every aspect of it in software, and expose these various pieces directly to the end user. However, if not done with care, simply handing the user the controls to a vast number of “bells and whistles” can lead to features that are difficult to understand and generally unintuitive.
To achieve our goal of building an intuitive, yet powerful Custom Reports platform, we’ve been following the words of Leonardo da Vinci: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Rather than bombarding the user with a number of choices and configuration options all at once, we instead try to require the fewest number of decisions possible in order to move forward at each step in the construction of the report. Anything that can be pushed off until later should be.
It’s certainly still important to give users the ability to refine and change a number of fine-grained parameters of their reports after their initial construction, but we want this to be an iterative process. Seeing information, and then acting on it is far more intuitive than having to make all of your choices before the first report is ever constructed. We’re very excited to begin rolling out our new Custom Reports tool later this month in order to give our customers better insights into their valuable business data!