Enable to Import and Export Full Client list from/to Outlook and Excel
These days it's not uncommon for database programs to export data or client info to csv or xls files. An option to be able to import this data would be nice. it would obviously need a field matching interface of some kind as to import what field into what field.
Hi Tony, please see my (lengthy) comment on this suggestion on the uservoice site. If you would like to discuss it further with me, please drop an email to email@example.com and we will arrange a time. G.
Hi Tony, thanks for the suggestion.
You probably know it is already possible to Export the Full Client list to Excel, CSV and numerous other formats.
Short version regarding Importing - We tried enabling import for our users early on, but it led to data integrity issues and subsequently massive Support issues. We subsequently dropped our efforts to refine and support an import function.
Long story: In 8 years of importing data for Customers, we have never had a data import from Outlook/Excel that was 'clean'. Outlook/Excel and other programs that allow free-form data input always have issues. Examples: Postcodes don't match Suburbs - leads to failure of Address imports. Phone number fields - an absolute nightmare because people don't enter them in any uniform manner.. some with country codes, some with area codes, Mobile numbers in home phone fields, phone numbers with comments against them, missing leading zero's... Title fields like Dr/Dr./Doctor/Doc - Most of our fields are user configurable Lookup Lists - if the data coming in doesn't match an existing entry then sure, we could import data as it it given, add additional entries and just report any mismatched/invalid data, and we did that - but all that led to was complaints: eg: "why do I now have 4 different Titles for 'Doctor' in the lookup list" "why didn't '0444444444 This is the mums phone don't call after 4pm' get imported into a 15 character Phone Field."
There are many reasons we enforce good data integrity and uniformity. We send out reminders - If email addresses and mobile numbers are not valid, then the messages don't get delivered (more complaints). We inter-operate with Argus/ReferralNet et al and data has to be formatted correctly for HL7 outputs... this requires Client, Referral and Referrer data to be uniform and valid as it does with the Medicare integration being worked on currently. The upcoming NEHR will require that data is consistent and accurate - Outlooks Address Book and Excel spreadsheets don't enforce data integrity.
Bottom line - I would love to offer data import functionality - mainly because we don't particularly like doing it! However, because of the issues outlined above, we offer a service to import data for our customers and charge a fee and I don't see that changing.
It turns out it is more efficient and less costly for both our customers and us. It's simply not worth expending development resources to cater for every possible scenario when importing from free-form data sources, when this is usually a 'once off' task. Our resources are better off spent on developing the product with features that are useful and save time on an ongoing daily/weekly/monthly basis.