Computers & Information Systems

Fundamentals of database characteristics and structure

            Information or data that can be stored electronically and later can be used to manipulate to create more data is called database. In other word it is an electronic filing system. It is organized by fields, records, and files similar to traditional database system such as a telephone book where information such as name, addresses, and telephone number are stored. However, to access electronic database one need to use system such as database management system (DBMS) which is a system that helps to insert, organize, update, select data from a database. Good system emphasis in the importance of gathering information and of thinking proactively, and keeping the information up-to-date. There are many different types of DBMS such as computerized library systems, automated teller machines, flight reservation systems and computerized parts inventory systems. A DBMS is implemented with the help of Database Administrator who using different tools can organized and manage the database system of a company.

A database is constructed of Tables where information such as patient record, telephone directory and other information are stored. Any type of Data can be inserted or stored in a Table of the database but in order to be safe from problems and other disaster it is recommended that the Tables are normalized. “Normalization is the process of efficiently organizing data in a database” [2] and the main goal of normalization process is to eliminate data redundancy and to ensuring data dependencies. A good example of relational DBMS is Microsoft Access and Oracle. DBMS’s standard common features are Meta Data, Queries, Reporting, Forms and Programming Language, etc. Meta data is data about data in other word it is information about the stored data. Queries and reports helps to retrieve data and reports are created upon the data retrieved to help tope management and doctors to make decision. As for Programming language such as SQL and PL/SQL are powerful enough to retrieve data in many different ways using formula and queries and having Keys and Indexes also helps to both track each table and manage the database system in much more smoothly compared to traditional ways of management.

Various types of medical data and information records relevant to this project

             Different type of Medical Data that exist today to portray condition for different diseases and virus such as patient personal information, patient sickness information and patient’s current status, etc. the patient data needs to be protected to ensure that confidentiality is maintained along with process of patient admission and discharge documents. Data has to be review for completeness, accuracy and compliance with regulations. Administrator and the stuff must compile and maintain patients’ medical records to document condition and treatment as well as provide data for research. Data such as demographic characteristics, history and extent of disease, diagnostic procedures and treatment can be as input for such system as Healthcare Information system. It is also essential to manage and store the department and supervise clerical workers, directing and managing activities of personnel in the medical records department as well as identify, compile, abstract and code patient data, using standard classification systems.

The importance of uniform terminology, coding and standardization of the data

Today there are about 150 known code systems such as International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes [3], which is currently in the ninth edition (ICD-9). Thee codes are accepted worldwide and USA developed clinical modification of the ICD codes (ICD-9-CM). [3]. World Health Organization (WHO) also developed ICD-10, HCFA and ICD-10-PCS. Other cods such as Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) [3] codes maintained by American Medical Association (AMA) are widely used in USA. Other example are the Systematized Nomenclature of Human and Veterinary Medicine  (SNOMED) [3] are also widely used in the USA. Other codes such as Laboratory Observation Identifier Names and Codes (LOINC) developed by an ad hoc group of clinical pathologists, chemists, and laboratory service vendors supported by Hartford Foundation are also widely used by different Healthcare organizations.

Guidelines and standards of data for the content and structure of IT system implemented in Healthcare organization are being developed by ASTM Subcommittees E31.12 and E31.19. [3]. E1384 which is a “Standard Description for Content and Structure of the Computer-based Patient Record” [3], also being developed by Subcommittee E31.19 and other such as E1633, E1239-94 and E1715-95, etc.

Various information standards and organizations that may be applicable, and possibly required, for this project

A system is needed to uniquely specify each patient and their information is such a way that it can be later studied to understand the process of a particular diseases or harmful viruses. “The Social Security Number (SSN) is being considered for use as a patient identifier in the United States today.” [3]. Using SSN and other identification can help both patient and the Healthcare to stay confidential. Other organization like the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) also trying to implement an identification system such as Universal Physician Identifier Number (UPIN) [3]. The two site-of-care identifier system that are currently in use are such as Health Industry Number (HIN) [3] which helps to track healthcare facilities, practitioners, and retail pharmacies, etc. other identifiers that can help healthcare organization to track information are such as Product and Supply Labeling Identifiers HIBCC, UPC and NDC [3] to track products and supplies distributed within a healthcare facility.

The Standards Developers Organizations developed standards such as ADA [6] which is an exchanging data processing standard for the dental services, ANIA [6] for exchanging data processing standards for the nursing services and ASTM [3] for exchanging messages which is about clinical observations, medical logic, and electrophysiological signals.


[1]; Database;;

Accessed 24th July, 2007

[2]        LECTURE 5: SOFTWARE PROJECT,; Accessed on 25th July, 2007

[3]        Jeffrey S. Blair, Program Manager, IBM Healthcare Solutions, Atlanta, Georgia (1999); Accessed on 25th July, 2007

[4]        14 Characteristics of Healthy Database Creation ; Upkeep;; Accessed on 25th July, 2007

[5]        Beaumont, Robin (May, 2000) Virtual Classroom,; Accessed on 25th July, 2007

[6]        Health Level Seven, 2002; Accessed on 25th July, 2007

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *