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What makes a blog post - and what should?

When I complained about my first blog post being rejected as more-suitable-for-the-wiki, Craig Cmehil explained to me that step-by-step/howto posts had been determined to be wiki material, and opinion/strategy for blogs. He also said that I could start a thread and see if there was consensus for changing the standards.

A little background: I've been blogging for 8 years, posting a mix of personal and technical topics at http://blog.donnael.com/. Some of the technical stuff has been short sample programs -- one-liners, regexps, etc. Some of it's been longer comments on products, or while-it's-happening documentation of a project attempt.

I posted the following blog entry for consideration.

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Greetings! My name is Garrett Fitzgerald, and I work at Penobscot Community Health Care, a Federally Qualified Health Center in Bangor, Maine. We use GE's Centricity practice management and medical records systems, and I use various tools to access the data -- one of the most useful of which is Crystal Reports 2008.

One thing I commonly need to do is to list all patients, but call out a specific diagnosis that some of them have. If I were to add the tables in the database expert, even if I were to use a Left Join to get all the patients, I would lose them as soon as I tried to use the Record Selection criteria to get the specific diagnoses I needed.

My solution to this is to use a SQL Command. When I go into the Database Expert and select my Connection, instead of choosing the tables, I can use "Add Command", and enter the SQL query directly.

A typical SQL query would look like this:

SELECT Person.pId, Person.firstName AS patFirst, Person.lastName AS patLast
        , Problem.onsetDate as refusedDate
    FROM Person
        LEFT JOIN Problem ON Person.pId = Problem.pId
    WHERE Problem.code BETWEEN 'ICD-V64.02' AND 'ICD-V64.08'

However, this gives us the same problem as I described above -- the list of Persons is restricted to those who have refused vaccination. To get around this, we can move the WHERE criteria into the JOIN clause:

SELECT Person.pId, Person.firstName AS patFirst, Person.lastName AS patLast
        , Problem.onsetDate as refusedDate
    FROM Person
        LEFT JOIN Problem ON Person.pId = Problem.pId
            AND Problem.code BETWEEN 'ICD-V64.02' AND 'ICD-V64.08'

This gives us all patients as desired, with either the date they refused vaccination or NULL if they didn't.

Next time, I'll show how I broke down the individual vaccination observations to make it easy to monitor compliance.

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So, I gave an example from my own experience, explained why the "obvious" way to do it didn't work, indicated how to do it, showed the translation of the naive way into the new method, and then gave the final solution. To me, this seems to be almost the definition of a technical blog post.

I can understand how it fits into the definition given above by Craig, but that leads me to the conclusion that the definitions are wrong. What do other people think? Should the definitions be loosened so that more material can be posted in blog format? Or are the definitions as they stand now exactly right?

Thanks!

Former Member
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