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What Does FASText Do?

In brief, it allows you to store, search and quickly reuse any number of blocks of text, images, etc., for any Windows application.  The items are not just stored and retrieved - you can add user prompts, lists, etc., so that the same block of text can be customized very easily each time you use it.  There is no practical limit on the size of the items it can store (2gb per item!). While this was written with Practice Partner® in mind and many of the features are of unique benefit to users of Practice Partner®, it is useful for any Windows program.  An item can be found in under 20 milliseconds by simply entering some part of the text of that item.  Searches can be launched from within the program itself or from within any other Windows program.  FASText also adds AutoComplete to any open Windows program so that a long word or phrase can be completed for you by hitting a simple hot key.

Why FASText?

Here is a summary of what FASText can do and these overcome the limitations of QuickText (a feature of Practice Partner McKesson's Patient Records®):

  • Launching QuickText is Slow
    • Problem: If you have a large number of QuickTexts, launching the QuickText part of Practice Partner® the first time of the day takes a surprisingly long time (nearly a minute on our system with about 13,000 QuickTexts).
    • The old work-around: Launch it and then begin your physical exam.
    • FASText Solution: FASText launches the first time in about 3/4 of a second with a database of over 40,000 items and is essentially instantaneous each time afterwards.
  • Searching
    • Problem: As you know, QuickTexts are stored in such a way that they are searchable only by the name of the quick text item.  You must know some part of the name of the item, beginning with the first character.
    • The old work-around: Many schemata for naming QuickTexts have been used (for example, beginning all diagnostic codes with a -, all billable procedures with a $, etc.)
    • FASText Solution: Any FASText item may be searched with a "progressive contiguous whole text search"... meaning that as you type in some part of a word that is in a FASText item (or the name or text of an imported QuickText item), a list of matching items is displayed.  The more you type in the search, the more the list of matches narrows.  Since QuickTexts can easily be imported into FASText, you no longer need to know the name of a QuickText item in order to find and use it.
  • Length
    • Problem: QuickText items may contain at most 1000 characters.
    • The old work-around: Have multiple QuickTexts for a single item with a label at the end which calls the next one.  This work-around requires multiple clicks.
    • FASText Solution: No character limit.  Well, to be precise the limit is 2147483648 characters which is approximately 2 gigabytes of data per FASText item.
  • Formatting
    • Problem: Other than New Lines, QuickTexts cannot contain any formatting characteristics.  That is, a QuickText may not contain bold, underline, italics, font size, tables or indents.
    • The old work-around: save your formatted text as a template and import the template where you want the block of formatted text to appear.  Of course this means going to a different location to pull formatted QuickTexts from the others which will likely interrupt your flow.
    • FASText Solution: All of the above formatting characteristics are preserved.  A FASText item can even contain graphics!
  • Launching
    • Speed of launching was discussed above.  Hitting Alt-I and then Q will bring up the QuickText box.
    • FASText Improvement: There are multiple ways of going to FASText:
      • Hit Ctrl-ALT-I and FASText loads.  You can then begin searching
      • Type a word or partial in your Practice Partner® progress note and hit CTRL-F (for FASText).  Immediately FASText loads and brings up a list of FASText (and QuickText) items which match your search.  Select one or multiple items, run new searches if necessary and press "Copy and Paste to Practice Partner®".  Practice Partner® again appears and the partial text you had entered is replaced with your chosen items.
      • Type a word or part of a word and then CTRL-ALT-J does the same thing as CTRL-F does but works in any other Windows Program
      • As before, begin typing in your application and then pressing CTRL-ALT-L launches a mini-version of FASText which runs from within your current Windows program. 
  • Letter Codes Not Allowed in Messaging
    • Problem: Try inserting a QuickText which has a letter code in it into a message - a warning pops up which states, "The LINK feature is not available for Messages at this time".
    • FASText Improvement: The same item, retrieved from FASText, works perfectly without any error messages.
  • QuickTexts Not Available in Rx Editor
    • FASText Improvement: All FASText items (remember, this includes all imported QuickTexts) are available in any part of Practice Partner®, including the Rx Editor.  We use this extensively for pasting ZetaFax embedded addressing codes for prescriptions which are to be faxed.
  • Option Lists are awkward to set up in Practice Partner®
    • Problem: In order to create a simple list of options using QuickTexts, say, for example, happy, sad, indifferent, you would need to set up each one as a similarly named QuickText item «feelings_happy», «feelings_sad» and «feelings_indifferent». and then use the common beginning of these items as a label in your QuickText, say, for example, I am feeling «feelings...».
    • FASText Improvement: Simply set up a single FASText item which says I am feeling [[happy|sad|indifferent]].  When you select this item, you will be prompted to choose one of these options.  Unlike Practice Partner® (which brings up a new window and requires you to move the mouse and use two mouse clicks), FASText shows these options in a popup menu, right near where you clicked - only one click is required.
  • A Label Cannot  Be "UnClicked"
    • Problem: When a label in your note is clicked, the text which it represents replaces the label.  Except with "Undo", you cannot change that after it was clicked.  This becomes a problem if you change your mind about something you clicked 20 clicks ago - yes, you could undo 20 steps but then you would have to re-do the 19 you weren't changing!
    • FASText Improvement:  A FASText item which contains text {{like this}} will toggle between active and inactive, allowing you to change just one thing in the past.  Incidentally, these are created in a FASText item without having to set it up beforehand (as you would with a clickable label QuickText in Practice Partner®).
  • No Date Entry Tool
    • A FASText item can contain a special tag which, when clicked, brings up a date entry dialog which allows you to choose a date using a calendar and then formats it in the preferred Practice Partner format.

Features are being added all the time to improve the functionality of FASText even more. Your input is invaluable!

Thanks for your interest,

Bernard Pegis, MD and Tripp Bradd, MD

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