Mandatory elements in archetypes, and user interfaces

Bakke, Silje Ljosland silje.ljosland.bakke at
Tue Nov 28 08:24:45 EST 2017

Thanks for your good answers, Pieter, Boštjan, Thomas, Pablo and Bjørn!

What I’m taking from this is that it’s not a problem using an archetype with an “archetype-mandatory” element in a UI where that element isn’t “UI-mandatory” (by which I mean that the element must be displayed and filled, either by prefilling or by the user) – the applications should handle no data entered into the element in one of several possible ways:

·         By the user explicitly removing the archetype by clicking some kind of “remove” button.

·         By the application automatically choosing not to persist the archetype at all if no data is entered. This is of course dependent on there being no data entered into any other elements of the archetype, and that the archetype itself isn’t set as mandatory in the template.

·         By using null flavours as detailed in the openEHR specs.


From: openEHR-implementers [mailto:openehr-implementers-bounces at] On Behalf Of Bjørn Næss
Sent: Monday, November 27, 2017 7:35 PM
To: For openEHR implementation discussions <openehr-implementers at>; For openEHR clinical discussions (openehr-clinical at <openehr-clinical at>
Subject: RE: Mandatory elements in archetypes, and user interfaces

In general I think it is correct to have some mandatory elements in many archetypes. These are elements which defines the archetype. I.e. problem element in Problem/Diagnosis.

We have implemented several strategies to cope with this:

·         First of all the container must be initialized to make an element mandatory.

o   I.e. one of the element in the Problem/Diagnosis archetype must have a value to “force” the mandatory element to have a value in the archetype.

o   Of course the container (the entry archetype) must not be mandatory, but that’s another topic

·         We have added some extra annotations to our Form Designer/ Form Renderer to relax the constraints when the container is empty.

·         We have the possibility to add “NULL_FLAVOUR” if the user are not able to give any reasonable data into the element.

Example of Null Flavours – for those who might have forgotten.

<group name="null flavours">
                <concept id="253" rubric="unknown"/>
                <concept id="271" rubric="no information"/>
                <concept id="272" rubric="masked"/>
                <concept id="273" rubric="not applicable"/>

Vennlig hilsen
Bjørn Næss

Mobil +47 93 43 29 10<tel:+47%2093%2043%2029%2010>

From: openEHR-implementers [mailto:openehr-implementers-bounces at] On Behalf Of Bakke, Silje Ljosland
Sent: fredag 10. november 2017 11:48
To: openehr-implementers at<mailto:openehr-implementers at>; For openEHR clinical discussions (openehr-clinical at<mailto:openehr-clinical at>) <openehr-clinical at<mailto:openehr-clinical at>>
Subject: Mandatory elements in archetypes, and user interfaces

Crossposting this between the clinical and implementers lists, since it belongs in both:

In some archetypes, one or more elements are set as mandatory (typically occurrences 1..1 or 1..*), because the rest of the concept makes no sense without this particular element recorded. Examples are Problem/diagnosis name in Problem/diagnosis, and Temperature in Body temperature. This is not intended to mean that it’s mandatory to enter data into the element in a UI, but that this particular element is mandatory in any persisted composition that uses the archetype.

Recently however, we received a request to change the Head circumference element in the Head circumference archetype from 1..1 to 0..1 because the element being mandatory in the archetype automatically made the UI form builder mandate the entering of data into the UI field, and removing the archetype on the fly made more unnecessary clicks. In a fit of mental hiccups, I agreed with and performed this change, but have since realised this is wrong, because:

·         A mandatory archetype element is not the same as a mandatory UI field

·         A mandatory UI field is more like a field where you only allow persisting non null values, while a mandatory archetype element can be persisted with a null value without a problem.

How are implementers actually handling this? Do you separate UI field mandation and archetype element mandation?

Kind regards,
Silje Ljosland Bakke

Information Architect, RN
Coordinator, National Editorial Board for Archetypes
Nasjonal IKT HF, Norway
Tel. +47 40203298
Web:<> / Twitter: @arketyper_no<>

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