Concept Development Process

Introduction and Purpose

In every activity there is a process. Developing concepts for every OpenMRS implementation requires a documented process on steps to follow. The purpose of this document is to assist a beginner to systematically know what systematic steps to take to ensure that they have all the information they need defined within their OpenMRS data dictionary.

It will also help to find electronic systematized solutions to automate the manual system.

What follows is an introduction to the Concept Dictionary Development key process areas and an overview of the proposed process.


Encounter form key 

A form Key displays a list of form question Identifiers (IDs) and their corresponding coded values/answers/responses concept IDs,  from the data dictionary. It also contains concept that do not ask questions for reference .

Concept proposal 

An activity that involves derivation of meaning from questions and responses by the concept manager and the requester.

Concept proposal spreadsheet 

The excel spreadsheet with column headers similar to the concept structure in the OpenMRS data dictionary. (Concept name, ID, class, data type, descritption, synonyms est.…….

 Key focus areas of the process:

1.      Identification of the need for concept creation and management

2.      Managing form content

3.      Proposing concepts

4.      Creating concepts

Process overview 

1.      Identify the tool  with data elements that need to be developed

2.      Set minimum requirements for tools to develop concepts for i.e. need to have form name, encounter date, form version and revised date, form content/question flow-systematic, encounter location, return to clinic        date ……….

3.      Review the data collection tool content  to identify gaps, understand what each data element collects , what the data elements mean and if they are derived from the indicators

4.      Critic the form so you can better understand the contents and workflow – consult with  the requester or the technical team who came up with  the tool

5.      Develop what we call an encounter form key by using the basic OpenMRS data dictionary or other sources (MVP,…)- entails use of existing mappings

6.      Make concept proposals for  the new items that need to be created -  entails use of the concept proposal spread sheet with column headers that match the standard format of concept requirements within the  openMRS concept dictionary – Concept name, concept description, concept data type, concept synonym, concept ID if existing, concept class, concept mappings,

7.      Decide whether you need to separate concept proposals for drugs and other items as mentioned in 6 above. This is so because the structure and management of drug concepts is maintained within the concept drug management UI. Here you can have a separate concept proposal spreadsheet  to help to create different drug formularies  -- concept drug name, concept drug formulary, concept drug dosage form, concept drug ID, concept drug route, concept drug description, drug name, drug combination, drug dosage strength, drug unit, drug group concept id

8. Create concepts