What is our stance on questions on Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems? Are they on-topic or off-topic?

https://superuser.com/help/on-topic (mirror) says:

issues specific to corporate IT support and networks,

Since Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems are typically used in a corporate setting ( e.g., hospitals ), should I infer that on questions on Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems are off-topic?

  • 1
    While I agree they are not on topic, I would also, your seeking the help with a community that's unlikely to be able to help even if it was on topic. EMR software isn't like the vast majority of software, so you would have to find a community member who not only has access to EMR software, but knows the software your using and knows it well enough to answer the question. Even if that happens without screenshots, it would be difficult, for anyone else to judge the accuracy and of the answer
    – Ramhound
    Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 1:16

3 Answers 3


Off-topic if you're in a big corporate setting.

On-topic if you're a solo practitioner working in an office by yourself.

I once went to a doctor (a sole practitioner) who used OSCAR, which is an open-source Canadian medical-records system, to manage my chart and to print prescriptions. There may be no support team anywhere for him to contact; just an email list full of random OSCAR users. But, if he has in his favorite-tags list, he might see and answer OSCAR questions the next time he visits Super User.

It's true that he could try asking at Health SE. But the people there tend to be less technical.

Mokubai wrote:

EMR systems and other highly specialised softwares that are mission critical could be damaged by the advice given by random strangers and cause loss of life, limb or legal status.

My response:

Stack Exchange is willing to accept many health-related questions and law-related questions. For on-topic EMR questions, let's learn from what Judaism SE does for Purim Torah questions. Let's edit the EMR question and add a disclaimer to the end:

Super User is for educational purposes only; the information here is not a substitute for individualized assistance from a qualified technician. If you need help with a medical-records system, please consult a qualified technician.

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    Personally I use EMR systems for my research (no big corporate settings). I agree that the consequences are up to the users (hence the Stack Exchange disclaimer you pointed out), I don't think we need to infantilize users. Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 3:12

Off topic.

If you have a question about ...

  • questions you can ask

and it is not about

  • issues specific to corporate IT support and networks
  • other things that are off-topic.

Programs that are used within corporate environments are expected to have their own dedicated support channels that are likely to be more effective than this site. EMR systems and other highly specialised softwares that are mission critical could be damaged by the advice given by random strangers and cause loss of life, limb or legal status.

We can answer questions regarding the simpler and more generic tools such as word processors as these are unlikely to cause any lasting damage or harm, critical and dedicated software should be handled by your local support team.

  • I commented on your answer here. Who is right? Me, or you? :) Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 17:04
  • This is meta, the community decides.
    – Mokubai Mod
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 17:07
  • But what do you personally think? A) Should solo practitioners be able to post EMR questions on Super User? B) And do you believe that, despite the disclaimer in the SE Terms of Service, health-related questions should nevertheless be forbidden? Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 17:10
  • It depends on the question. In this case, the actual question that was asked, was not on topic for several reasons actually. Due to the fact, a moderator was the one who selected the reason, only a single close reason is displayed. If 5 people had voted, multiple reasons, likely would have been choosen. I personally, would have just simply picked "out of scope", as the reason to close the question. I have yet to see an example of a EMR question that wouldn't have been closed for other reasons at this time.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 19:40
  • @unforgettableid I'm not convinced that a disclaimer that is hidden in a legal terms and conditions page is much help when the vast majority of users will only read those pages once the damage has already been done. While I would prefer not to specifically exclude groups from SU I personally draw the line at systems where there is an actual danger to life or livelihood in trusting "some guy/gal I spoke to on the internet". The legal wording you quote is too fuzzy as laws differ between areas.
    – Mokubai Mod
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 12:52
  • @Mokubai, an update: I disabled Adblock Plus and my custom blocklist, and it turns out that Health SE also has a lawyer-approved disclaimer in its sidebar. OK; fine. Let's edit all new EMR questions and add a big disclaimer to the end of the question. Would this assuage your concern? Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 0:56
  • @unforgettableid to an extent it helps, but the fact that it has to be done manually for every post makes it unworkable to me. You are​ adding a block that can easily be removed by OP if they feel offended or annoyed by it so it could easily vanish. On top of that it must be done by a person for all old posts and new posts. Are you volunteering to go through every new question on a very regular basis (4+ times per day) to check whether adding this disclaimer is relevant to be applied to questions asked?
    – Mokubai Mod
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 6:08
  • While I like the idea of the disclaimer the amount of effort required to support it compared to other questions is what breaks the deal for me. You are paying attention and giving undue preference to one particularly small class of questions by going down this route. You could have the disclaimer triggered by a tag, but that would need development time that is, again, disproportionate to the value of such a small amount of questions.
    – Mokubai Mod
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 6:18

Depends - if you are asking questions like "what is the best", "which is the cheapest"... those types of questions are definitely off-topic and against the ToS.

If you ask questions like "What is HL-7? (Medical data transfer protocol)" or "Is there a standard for the CCD? (Continuity of care documentation)" those are questions which can be answered. HL7 protocol is a protocol just like TCP/IP and the CCD theoretically includes certain items (much squishier in terms of it being a solid list). Still, questions like these should be answerable.

  • 1
    Your latter point sound like they would still be off topic here as they do are not directly related to home computers
    – Burgi
    Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 21:43
  • Both of your examples, "What is HL-7?" and "Is there a standard for the CCD?" make horrible Q&A questions. Those examples also would NOT be on topic here at Superuser.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 19:38
  • @Ramhound What other SE would you suggest? The point I was trying to make was sales/opinion questions aren't valid whereas questions that can be definitively answered may be valid. Which is the best isn't, what components are in this protocol is. Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 20:26

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