Database Characteristics and the Language of Health Information Systems (HIS module 4, slp)
For your selected organization, examine the standards of the applications the IT department uses. In your discussion include the importance of the standards and any issues surrounding the standards (e.g., definitions consistent with other organizations or across applications).
SLP Assignment Expectations
1. Your references and citations should be consistent with a particular formatting style, such as APA.
2. Your response should be based on reliable and scholarly material, such as peer-reviewed articles, white papers, technical papers, etc. Do not include information from non-scholarly materials such as wikis, encyclopedias, or www.freearticles.com (or similar websites).
3. Your response should incorporate the outcomes of the module with the requirements of this assignment.
There is a need to describe healthcare concepts in a consistent manner. We as humans are able to assimilate, without confusion, many variations of descriptions. Computers, on the other hand, are very poor at recognizing concepts from inconsistent descriptions.
A preferred term is an agreed-upon short description of a concept, and a concept is the image created by the words that describe it. However, in some cases a definition of a concept may still be needed. This is because, too often, the wording of a preferred term means something different to different users.
A unique identifier (or code) for each concept is required. Anything would do, as long as it is unique and suitable. If a preferred term is used, its description should not be changed; however it does sometimes happen. Accordingly, a preferred term is generally not suitable as a code. In fact, words are not efficient ways to store identifiers in computers, as the computer may be required to store an identifier many times. Therefore, the code should be reasonably œcompact, preferably a œnumber of some sort. Using a number is not an issue, because the computer can always display equivalent descriptive words that are seen by the users.
Coding is the process of matching a healthcare entity to a term in a terminology and assigning it a code. The terminology may be called a coding system. Sometimes rules are offered to improve the accuracy of coding. These rules are commonly known as standards.
In this module, we will explore the language of Health Informatics. We will examine database fundamentals and types of health information data and records, and explore standards used to ensure the information is understood across various systems and disciplines.
This module covers a large amount of area and material. Do not get overwhelmed by trying to dig too deeply into the technical aspects. Indeed, each area can be an entire field of technical study of its own. Instead, focus on the concepts, application, and purpose surrounding structured data and standards as they relate to healthcare information.
Carefully read through the following material, which describes the fundamentals of databases, and their structure and function. Fundamental Database Characteristics1
Eric McCreath provides a well-illustrated and concise overview of database fundamentals in the following presentation: Database Basics Presentation2
The following slide presentation identifies various types of medical data and records. Presentation by Peter Szolovits, MIT (February, 2002). Nature of Medical Data3
There are many standards guiding the format and use of healthcare-related information. The following is a comprehensive list and review of these standards. It is not necessary to memorize every one of them. Instead, just get a sense for the vast number of standards that exist. Pay particular attention to those standards that reference Health Level Seven (HL7) and Unified Medical Language System (UMLS). Review of Healthcare Information Standards4
The following is a list of Standards Organizations. Standards Development Organizations5
Read through this overview of the Unified Medical Language System. UMLS6
Jiang Bo provides a good overview of Health Level Seven (HL7) in this presentation. HL77
Sources Referenced Above
1.Beaumont, R. (2000). Database and Database Management Systems. Retrieved August 12, 2009, from http://www.fhi.rcsed.ac.uk/rbeaumont/virtualclassroom/chap7/s2/dbcon1.pdf
2.McCreath, E. (2002). Lecture Notes for COMP1200: Perspectives on Computing, Information Systems Database Basics. Retrieved August 8, 2007, from http://cs.anu.edu.au/student/comp1200/lectures/10.2-1up.pdf
3.Szolovits, P. (2003). Nature of Medical Data. MIT, Intro to Medical Informatics: Lecture-2. Retrieved on August 12, 2009, from http://groups.csail.mit.edu/medg/courses/6872/2003/slides/lecture2-print.pdf
4.Blair, J. S. (1999). An Overview of Healthcare Information Standards, IBM Healthcare Solutions. Retrieved August 12, 2009, from http://lists.essential.org/med-privacy/msg00186.html
5.Health Level Seven: Links to Standards Developers. Retrieved August 9, 2009, from http://www.hl7.org/standards/developer.htm
6.Unified Medical Language Fact Sheet. (2003). National Library of Medicine: Office of Communications and Public Liaison. Retrieve August 12, 2009, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/umls.html
7.Bo, J. (2003). Health Level Seven Overview Presentation. Bioinformatics Institute.