Database Characteristics and the Language of Health Information


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Database Characteristics and the Language of Health Information


Electronic information systems are a strategic idea that any organization can adopt. Information systems help organizations to store information in an organized format that can be easily retrieved.  Using information systems in hospitals will guarantee the safety of information for both the patient and the provider by making it easy to store and access health care information. 

This is a shift from the manual hard copy store of data to the digital store of information (Beaumont, 2000).  This will enable the storage, retrieval and processing of health data easily. This data is stored on a database that keeps all the information according to the format that the administrator has assigned it. This overview is guided by the outlined questions that are highlighted.

The hospital is faced with the storage of records on paper copies and files. The patient records have to be searched through the numerous files within the hospital and its respective centres in order to access a record. Furthermore the hospital needs to have information from its centres linked to the main hospital for it to be easily accessed.

The aim of this project is to develop an electronic health information system that will capture all the information of the hospital and its centres n one database that is easy to access and reliable. This presentation gives an overview of the relevance of adopting a health management system. It highlights the relevance of shifting from the manual paper work to a digital model of record keeping.

Fundamentals of database characteristics and structure

A database is a collection of data that is related that can be produced to information that is relevant to the user. A database is large since it has to store a lot of information ranging from figure to word. Beaumont (2000) argues that data represents facts that are recorded and can be processed to produce information that is based on the facts that are stored in the database.

These data is maintained as a collection of files that are stored in a database management system.  A database management system has several programs that enable the users to enter data into the system and processing it into information that is relevant to the end user.

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In changing the hospital system to an EHR a database will be developed where data is entered into the database for access by several users on different platforms.  The database is self describing; it insulates programs and data, supports viewing of data from multiple sources and enables the sharing of data across several users.

The database will be easy t use since it has definition of its components like, storage format, individual files structure, and the data constrains that may exist. The database will have different users that are differentiated from the way they use the database. They can be programmers, sophisticated users, specialized users or native users.

All these users can access the database but their use is limited according to the administrator privileges that exist in the database (Versel, 2011). The administrator coordinates the whole database system and understands the needs of each user and the privileges that should be assigned to the user.

Types of medical data and information records relevant to this project   

According to Szolovits (2003), Hospitals keep different types of data that is relevant to both the government and the healthcare facility. The information is used in government planning for specific cases of illness and also in determining the patient disease patterns. The database will contain patient records and health records

Patient medical records contain the identification of the patient like, name, sex, age, residence blood type, chronic diseases, family health history and previous prescriptions ever administered to the patient. This data is entered in a database that can be shared across hospitals in a digital format through a network connecting all hospitals.

This aids in ensuring that the medication given to the patient is consistent unlike the manual system where the patient may have to narrate the prescriptions given to them (Szolovits, 2003). Individual files for each patient are supposed to be kept that help in making diagnosis for future cases of illness. The records help the patient and the doctor to make a diagnosis that best fits the situation of the patient.

On the other hand health records give a summary of the healthcare services and patterns that have been registered in the facility. These records are classified using different indicators for example they can be according to the disease that has been diagnosed or can be based on the type of drugs that have been administered to patients. These records are used by planners and policy makers to make decisions that affect the healthcare system (Versel, 2011).  The type of health information stored will depend on state requirements that have been set.

The records will be linked to the main server that is located in the main facility. Each facility will have a login ID that will be used to record the cases in that facility. This will ensure that the cases can be differentiated easily as having been registered in one centre or the other.

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

Use of uniform terminology entails harmonising the health information systems that exist to use terms that are similar across. Since the health standards are equal and have been set by the WHO then it means the terminologies used should apply across the globe. The use of uniform terminologies enables the exchange of health information and data among systems in a uniform manner. Therefore the medical terms have to be understood universally (Ramez & Shamkant, 2003).

 Coding enables the practitioners and the health information system to easily interpret the data using the health information that has been built in the system. Coding is computer assisted increases the efficiency of the codes so that the codes are not human generated universally (Ramez & Shamkant, 2003).

Coding is further used in clinical health surveillance and decisions support within the healthcare. Coding makes the interpretation of data easy thus increasing health surveillance and the application of health information universally (Ramez & Shamkant, 2003)..

On the other hand Ramez & Shamkant (2003) argue that universally standardization of data ensures a uniform platform that all practitioners work on. This improves quality and efficiency during health care. Standards are defined by several organizations like ISO that determine that ensure all practitioners use a standard platform in healthcare.

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

In the current world where quality is a prerequisite, there are standards that are required for every organization or application that is used. ISO TC 215 sets standards that are required for electronic health records. It provides international specifications that are required which are described in ISO 18308 (Szolovits, 2003).

However there are 55 countries that have subscribed to the global authority in health care information health seven international.  Below are various standards that guide the use of electronic health records.

HL7- a texting protocol between the physician and record systems and practice management systems.

ASC X12(12), a protocol for transmitting data of patients, this is commonly used in the US.

Claims attachment standard; it guides the submissions and making of claims in a health care System.

 Personal health records standard that ensures uniformity of patient health records across countries.

The healthcare information systems vendor that offers electronic medical record products

Acummedic health: it’s a practice management and EHR application that is customised to capture the health care flow from the contact with the patient to discharge. The advantage with this system is it gives the opportunity for the user to add modules that are relevant to their agency.  It supports the HL7 standard and offers several packages like substance abuse, behavioural health, community service and many others. It has been in use since 1977 and offers better platforms for EHR (Versel, 2011).

Acumen Physician Solutions is designed for nephrologists; it offers physician guideline and ambulatory services and is wholly owned by Fresenius Medical Care North America. Therefore the services it offers are linked to Fresenius Medical Care North America (Versel, 2011).

BML MedRecords Alert LLC was designed to provide solutions that are more efficient and a better healthcare system.  It provides physicians with a digital platform to interact and gather information from patients. It allows the patients to easily access their medical information from anywhere and can be effective during emergency. Further it has medical alerts that patients can use and an online library for referral. This leads to both quality and efficiency in achieving healthcare (McBride, 2012).

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From the three EHR vendors, it is noted that they vary in their application but offer interaction between the patient and the healthcare provider. However Acumen Physician Solutions offers ambulatory services apart from the services that all others offer, while BML MedRecords Alert LLC offers a patient profile that the patient can search through the website and get information that can be relevant for emergency.

The patient is able to easily access the health records and can interact directly with the physician without physical contact. While Acummedic health is an open platform that enables the user to change and add the modules that are relevant, this shows why it has been in use since 1977. Therefore all the EHR vendors are good and will depend on the user preferences and requirements. The cost of installing the system will range from a minimum of $3000 US dollars.


Electronic Health records system helps to coordinate and make healthcare provision easy and fast to patients. According to Grooves et al (2013), health facilities use the system to increase performance and efficiency of the healthcare system. It assists the health care providers to exchange and coordinate information from one source to another.  The Electronic Health records system provider immediate access to health records and literature by practitioners that helps in diagnosing medical cases.

The sharing of information between the patient, the practitioner and other health facilities has improved the quality of care. This is the invention that has brought health care to the door step of the patient and further reduced the distance between the patient and the hospital.


Beaumont, R. (2000). Database and Database Management Systems. Retrieved August 12, 2009, from

Grooves P, Kayyali B, Knott D & Kuiken S (Jan 2013) The big data revolution in healthcare, accelerating value and innovation. Centre for US Health System Reform. McKinney & Company.

Michael McBride (July, 2012) Understanding the true costs of an EHR implementation plan. Medical Economics.

Ramez Elmasri & Shamkant Avathe (2003) Fundamentals of database systems. Fourth ed. Pearson. New York

Szolovits, P. (2003). Nature of Medical Data. MIT, Intro to Medical Informatics: Lecture-2. Retrieved on August 12, 2009 from

Versel Neil (September, 2011) 12 EHR Vendors That Stand Out. InformationWeek Healthcare.?

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