Database systems are the spinal cord of any health care organization. It can be define as the collection of health data. The use of such systems has improve the health care system for decades helping set standards and even regulations to help the system be more efficiently productive. There are different database architectures available to meet the needs of each organization individually. There is a need for the continuum of database across the health care system.
Definition A database is a structure that can store information about multiple types of entities, the attributes of those entities, and the relationships between the entities (Pratt & Adamski, 2012, Chapter 1). How data is received, stored, processed, and made available to others has an effect on the success or failure of an organization. The use of different architecture is a most to fit the needs of the organization, however the value of the data still remains in been able to access and extract information from the database system, and the only way this can be reached is by organizing, storing, and analyzing it effectively. For many organizations these systems have become an essential part of their structural and operational success.
The effectiveness of databases is based on the fact that from one single, inclusive database much information regarding a range of organizational principles can be obtained. In the health care industry database systems allows information to be shared and available to different users; it can provide an accurate, consistent, and up-to-date information about a patient’s condition and treatment, as well as provide a security measure so that the information is only viewable to those who should see it.
A database consists of one or more tables; each containing data stored as individual records. Different database architectures determine how the tables and records are organized or related to one another. According to Penn State University (2008), “There are four structural types of database management systems:
1. Hierarchical- A hierarchical database is organized in pyramid fashion, like the branches of a tree extending downwards. Related fields or records are grouped together so that there are higher-level records and lower-level records.
2. Network- is similar to hierarchical databases by also having a hierarchical structure. There are a few key differences, however. Instead of looking like an upside-down tree, a network database looks more like a cobweb or interconnected network of records.
3. Relational- connects data in different files by using common data elements or a key field. Data in relational databases is stored in different tables, each having a key field that uniquely identifies each row. Relational databases are more flexible than either the hierarchical or network database structures. 4. Object-oriented- are useful for handling small snippets of information such as names, addresses, zip codes, product numbers, and any kind of statistic or number you can think of. It can be used to store data from a variety of media sources, such as photographs and text, and produce work, as output, in a multimedia format” (Database Fundamentals).
The organization and delivery of healthcare services is an information intensive effort. Generally, the efficiency of healthcare operations is drastically affected by the level of the integration of information across all sectors (Wright, n.d.). Healthcare organizations that have not yet make the effort to integrate their data and relate information in an effective and efficient way will find it difficult to stay afloat or even compete within this part of the market. The healthcare market is undergoing changes were information technology has become essential to their every day functional activities.
The need of database users across the health care continuum would increase with the demands of technology to be to focus on striving to provide a patient focus services in different entities. Recent advances in policy, practice and research are compelling health care leaders across the continuum of care to move beyond aspiring to be more patient- or person-centered to taking action to realize that vision. A growing body of evidence is linking adoption of a patient-centered approach to care to improved outcomes, including reduced lengths of stay, avoidable readmissions and emergency department visits, and increases in patient satisfaction and employee engagement (Planetree.org, 2012).
Database systems serve as a connection pathway to future strategies of care. The need to keep up and try as much as possible to meet the demand is a most in the health care field. Since many changes are been made to health care, database systems would continue evolve, to improve and standardized the ability to organize, save, and share information throughout the system providing a more efficient and effective line of service for their customers and the demands of their markets for years to come.
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