SmartLinks are some of the most versatile tools you can use in Epic. They are used by end users to insert data about a patient into their notes, and used by administrators to configure dynamic SmartTexts to be used in letters, reports, instructions, and much more. In this guide, you'll learn how rule-based SmartLinks work. The creation of rules (CER) and new SmartLinks (HHS) is typically restricted only to project team members. If you are an end-user who needs a new SmartLink, work with your project team, or shoot us a message to see if we can help

What is a SmartLink?

A SmartLink is a piece of dynamic code in Epic that enables a different message or text to display based on the evaluation of certain criteria. SmartLinks can be inserted into users' notes on the fly, with a "dot or period" like .NAME to enter the patient's name, or added to SmartPhrases and SmartTexts by placing it between @ symbols, like @NAME@. There are thousands of SmartLinks available for end users to use in their notes. You can just start typing the "dot" and then a description of what you're looking for, and you'll often come across a SmartLink that meets your needs. Other times, you might not be able to quite find the SmartLink you're looking for, and need an administrator to create a custom one for you.

What is a CER Rule?

CER rules are flexbile, configurable rule logic records that are used all across Epic. Many tools in Epic that conditionally show one thing or another, or perform one function or another, based on changing circumstances operate using CER rules in the background. You can create custom CER rules to show data in columns (PAF) for use in the Multi Provider Schedule or Patient Lists, CER rules to be used as criteria in Reporting Workbench, and much more. Within some CER rules, you can specify an error message that gets returned as a result of the rule returning true. The rule error message displays at the bottom of Patient Context CER rules. You can either insert properties into the error message of your rule, or enter in text in the rule (enclosed in "quotations"). For example, your rule error message could look like this:

"ICD Code: " C_Problem List » Diagnosis

Which would show the string "ICD Code: ", followed by the property Diagnosis

How do they work together?
When you create a SmartLink off of the Rule Error message template, you can set a SmartLink to show the value of a CER rule's error message. This essentially means you can create a SmartLink for whatever you want, as long as you can create/modify a property to return what you want to return.

Go to the a new SmartLink editor, and find the rule error message smartlink. Save As to create a new copy. Enter your CER rule as a parameter and configure the settings as needed.

Tips and tricks

  • Make sure you review the available contexts of the CER rule(s), SmartLink, and SmartText(s) that you are using. Do extensive testing to ensure that you are pulling what you want to be pulling
  • If the SmartLink shows up with just the @ symbols, it likely means it's not evaluating at all and that there is an issue with the SmartLink. Try making the SmartLink available to all contexts, and check the contexts of the SmartText
  • Use the rule tester to make sure your CER rule is evaluating as expected