Essay, 3 pages (600 words)

The language of health informatics

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1. What is a database? In its simple structure, database is a set of tables that organize records containing data for the same fields or parameters. These components are properly labeled on the table at the left. Because of the huge amount of data it stores, they can be presented in different ways. For example, the following table may be organized based on the name of the consultant. In this case, records 2 and 5, as well as 1 and 4, should be beside each other (Beaumont, 2000)..
2. What should we put in a hospital database?
Before we even answer this question, all of us should understand what a hospital database is, and is for. Practically, a hospital database, for our purposes, is the collection of patient forms, only more organized and in electronic form. These two advantages, organization and accessibility, allow appropriate medical attention to be given faster, despite turnover of health care providers. For a former patient allergic to aspirin, rushed again to the hospital for his sudden blood pressure elevation, even if the nurses and doctors who attended to him are not part of the hospital already, the current HCPs will know they must provide non-aspirin medications.
So going back to the original question, imagine as if you’re interviewing the patient again, what would be the usual questions you would ask him? Probably the complaint (why is the patient currently admitted?), the history of the complaint (i. e., Is this reoccurring?), and the past medical history (what other medical conditions did the patient have?). In addition, it is also important to note the medical history of the patients family. The contact details of the patient, as well as its closest family member should also be indicated in the database.
3. The importance of uniform terminology, coding and standardization of the data
As mentioned above, the accessibility of hospital databases serves to facilitate communication among HCPs or hospitals. The terminology, coding and standardization are thus important so that the hospitals can understand one another (Blair, 1999). For example, if the normal levels of substance A is 1-5 mg/ml for hospital A but 1-10 mg/ml for hospital B, then normal patients from hospital B may be getting treatment from hospital A if he/she is admitted to it.
In addition, there must be universal identifier standards. This facilitates getting appropriate and adequate information from the database, This is especially important in life-threatening cases. For patient identifier, one option is the social security system (SSS) number, a unique one given to each citizen. However, the use of SSS number is open to violations of confidentiality because other institutions also use SSS, and may thus access confidential medical files. Moreover, a standardized HCP, hospital, and manufacturer identifiers are also needed.
Because of the vast amount of information HCPs or hospitals should provide per patient, a standard form of content and structure. This facilitates ease of upload and understanding of the input provided in the database.
4. Needed information standards and organizations
As mentioned earlier, the ranges of normal and abnormal values should be similar among hospitals. This demands designated groups of experts recognized by all hospitals. In addition, the updates on database should be done at regular intervals and set time. A regulating organization or group of expert personnel should be tasked for this endeavor (Health Level Seven, 2007).
Beaumont, Robin. “ Database and Database Management Systems”. 2000. Web. May 31, 2011
Blair, Jeffrey S. “ An Overview of Healthcare Information Standards, IBM Healthcare Solutions“. 1999. Web. May 31, 2011.
“ Links to Standards Developers“. Health Level Seven. 2007. Web. May 31, 2011

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