Health care has been improving over the past decades, and patients expect quality services and products from medical institutions. This is only possible if these institutions maintain good records about their patients. Health information for use by the medical personnel should also be available to ensure that personnel is up to date in the dynamics of the medical world. This information should be accessible to all team members.
It should be stored in such a way that it can be shared from different access points. People use different languages and terms in the storage of data. This can be complicated if the information has to be shared among many people who have specialized in different fields. This has seen the introduction of health care information standards that are used to classify, practice, guide, and integrate terms for common understanding and use (Wager, Lee, Glaser & Wager, 2009).
This article discusses the database characteristics and structure. It also looks at how they can be used within a medical institution to improve service quality and efficiency. It will highlight some of the information standards and organizations that can be applied in medical institutions.
Information Systems and Databases in Health Care
A database refers to the storage of data in such a way it can be modified, updated, and retrieved easily. This is done in the form of tables and fields that are used to categorize each aspect involved for easy retrieval. In the case of a medical institution, it can include columns that describe each of the departments and fields. This can include the date of birth, sickness, and history of the patient. It can also include information about the staff and operations in the medical institution. However, this is not possible without acquiring a uniform language and coding to ensure that anyone can understand the contents. This is also useful when personnel is sharing data from their respective branches (Beaumont, 2000).
The available information systems have standardized language that all people who access the database must learn and understand how to simplify their work. For instance, they can use identification numbers (ID) to represent each patient since they are unique for each. Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) is used to link the medical terms used to form an index that can be used by medical practitioners. It is common in the majority of the big medical institutions. The coding of private data is meant to ensure that only relevant people can access this data. For example, the medical history of the patient and the sickness details (Unified Medical Language Fact Sheet, 2003).
There are a number of systems and organizations that can be used in a medical institution. An example is HL7 (Health Level Seven), which enables the transmission of patient data in a shared network. DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications) can also be adopted to share images and radiology information. Other systems include a wide variety of ASTM that provides a variety of standards. These standards are for formatting messages and digital transfer from the medical equipment directly into the computer system. Such details include laboratory results, electrical signals from medical equipment like electromyograms (Blair, 1999).
The use of database and information systems simplifies the way data is handled and adds efficiency to the medical personnel’s work. A medical institution can integrate various systems to ensure that data is available and secure for use by all personnel. It enables them to share data, which in turn unites them to improve the quality of health care.
Beaumont, R. (2000). Database and Database Management Systems. Web.
Blair, J. S. (1999). An Overview of Healthcare Information Standards: IBM Healthcare Solutions. Web.
Unified Medical Language Fact Sheet (2003). National Library of Medicine: Office of Communications and Public Liaison. Web.
Wager, K.A., Lee, F.W., Glaser, J.P. & Wager, K.A. (2009). Health care information systems: A practical approach for health care management. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.