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Tips on Medical Data Categorisation


Medical clinics have a large amount of patient treatment data that needs to be organized and analyzed to improve treatment outcomes and patient satisfaction. One of the key ways to achieve this is through effective treatment categorization in a clinic management system. This white paper will discuss best practices for treatment data categorization in medical clinics, including the importance of clear & consistent terminology and the use of standard classification systems, in order for the dental clinic to optimise the benefits of data analytics. 

Common Mistakes

Some of the commonest mistakes clinics face in their data categorisation include: 

  • Use of overly generic treatment categories to classify many different types of treatment.  Examples of this include “hygiene procedure” or “examination” in dental practices.  This results in the inability for the clinic managers to drill down deeper into specific treatments, which will be necessary if the manager need to analyse the financial drivers or the patient demographics for each underlying treatment types.

  • Use of inconsistent terminology can lead to confusion among the medical team and can make it difficult to identify areas for improvement when undertaking data analytics. Additionally, if the clinic does not use standard classification systems, it can make it difficult to compare data with other clinics for benchmarking purpose and can limit the ability to integrate data into other systems – for instance when there is a change in clinic management systems or for national health record integration.

  • Classification of non-treatment items as treatment.  This can include product items such as nebulisers or dental floss.  Such practice will unnecessarily corrupt data, and can result in drawing inaccurate conclusions in data analytics, for example, in determining the amount of time a dentist spends in treating patients.


Best Practices

The best practices which dental clinics can adopt when managing data categorisation are:

  • Clear and consistent terminology: One of the most important aspects of treatment categorization is the use of clear and consistent terminology. This ensures that all members of the medical team are on the same page when it comes to identifying and describing different treatments. It also makes it easier for data analytics to be performed, as the same terms are used consistently across the clinic. Using the example in dentistry, instead of using the broad term "hygiene", a clinic can use more specific terms such as "scaling and polishing," "root planning," "oral prophylaxis," and "periodontal maintenance."  Similarly, rather than using a broad term like "prosthodontics", using more specific treatment types such as "implants", "dentures" and "crowns & bridges" will enable the clinic to analyse the different resource allocation, revenue attribution and treatment duration at a much more accurate level.

  • Use Standard classification systems: Another important aspect of treatment categorization is the use of standard classification systems. This can include systems such as ICD-10 or CPT codes, which are widely used in the medical industry and provide a consistent way of describing different diagnoses and treatments. By using these standard systems, medical clinics can ensure that their data is comparable to that of other clinics, and that it can be easily integrated into other systems, such as electronic health records. For example, ICD-10 codes can be used to classify specific types of periodontal disease, whereas CPT codes can be used to classify different types of restorative procedures.


Data analytics – Getting it right

The correct use of treatment categorization in a clinic management system is critical to facilitate easy data analytics. By organizing patient treatment data in a consistent and standardized way, and at a granularity deep enough to garner useful insights, medical clinics can quickly and easily analyze trends, identify areas for improvement, and track treatment outcomes. This can lead to better patient care, increased efficiency, and cost savings for the clinic. For example, a chiropractic clinic can use data analytics to determine the most common type of treatment provided to patients of specific demographics, or to track the success rate of different types of chiropractic procedures.


Effective treatment categorization in a clinic management system is essential for medical clinics to improve patient care and increase efficiency. By using clear and consistent terminology, standard classification systems, and data analytics, medical clinics can ensure that their patient treatment data is organized in a way that is easy to understand and use. This ultimately leads to better patient outcomes and a more successful practice.

Whilst this white paper provides you with a general guide, it is important to note that each medical clinic may have different specific needs and requirements for their treatment categorization system. It is advisable for clinics to work with a dental software and/or data analytics specialist when implementing the system in order to ensure that it is tailored to the specific needs of the clinic.

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