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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 47  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 141-143

Health-care databases and its role in transformation of medicine

1 Final Year MBBS, Konaseema Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Foundation, Amalapuram, Andhra Pradesh, India
2 Department of and Physiology, Konaseema Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Foundation, Amalapuram, Andhra Pradesh, India
3 Final Year MBBS, Andhra Medical College, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India
4 Medical Student, Rangaraya Medical College, Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, India
5 3rd Year MBBS, Sri Venkateswara Medical College, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, India

Date of Submission16-Jul-2020
Date of Acceptance12-Sep-2020
Date of Web Publication21-Jan-2021

Correspondence Address:
Mr. Tarun Kumar Suvvari
Rangaraya Medical College, Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jss.JSS_67_20

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Health-care database is a collection of health-care data organized for storage, accessibility, and retrieval. Health-care database serves to replace the paper documents, filing cabinets of old, and file folders, which will be more convenient and immediate. At present, health-care system is in a transition from a patient care perspective toward information-based medicine requiring data from various sources such as laboratory tests, genetic tests, medical images, family histories, and patient medical records, which need to be easily stored, integrated, and analyzed. The most commonly used database in health care is the online transaction processing (OLTP) database among different types of databases available. OLTP database is the one that is a single computer application runs on, and the main strength of it is quick and real-time transaction processing. Electronic health record is a prime example of the OLTP, and practitioners enter routine clinical and laboratory data into them during usual practice as a record of the patient's care. Data can be stored externally in a secure place and can be backed up to prevent data loss with these health-care databases. The back-end data can therefore become more accurate and standardized because of the front-end software providing tip text and enforce data. Furthermore, the health-care database allows the rapid processing of classical transactions such as laboratory results and payment claims as the data are computerized.

Keywords: Electronic health records, health-care database, information-based medicine online transaction processing, patient care perspective

How to cite this article:
Simhachalam Kutikuppala LV, Gopal Raju S V, Jonna S, Suvvari TK, Veeramreddy NR. Health-care databases and its role in transformation of medicine. J Sci Soc 2020;47:141-3

How to cite this URL:
Simhachalam Kutikuppala LV, Gopal Raju S V, Jonna S, Suvvari TK, Veeramreddy NR. Health-care databases and its role in transformation of medicine. J Sci Soc [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 May 7];47:141-3. Available from: https://www.jscisociety.com/text.asp?2020/47/3/141/307607

  Introduction Top

Information has been the key to a better organization and new developments. The digitalization in health care is happening so fast. As the collection of information is increased to a big mass, it should be organized in a way that it is easily available for the next time references. This has also become possible in the areas of health care too and referred as “health-care database.”[1]

Health-care databases are systems into which health-care providers routinely enter the patients clinical and laboratory data. The health professionals belong to various health sectors such as dentistry, medicine, midwifery, nursing, psychology, physiotherapy, and many others. Health care is required at several levels depending on the urgency of the situation. Professionals serve it as the first point of consultation (for primary care), acute care requiring skilled professionals (secondary care), advanced medical investigation and treatment (tertiary care,) and highly uncommon diagnostic or surgical procedures (quaternary care). At all these levels, the health professionals are responsible for different kinds of information such as patient's medical history (diagnosis and prescriptions related data), medical and clinical data (like data from imaging and laboratory examinations), and other private or personal medical data. Previously, the common practice to store such medical records for a patient was in the form of either handwritten notes or typed reports.[2]

The progress of this digitalization in health care was accelerated to a great extent over the past years and still progressing with the advancement of communication technology. So that, health professionals and patients can draw accurate conclusions and implement successful health outcomes.[3]

The most commonly used database in health-care setup is electronic health records (EHRs). EHRs have introduced many advantages for handling modern health-care-related data. EHRs are that health-care professionals have an improved access to the entire medical history of a patient. The information includes medical diagnosis, prescriptions, data related to known allergies, demographics, clinical narratives, and the results obtained from various laboratory tests. The diagnosis and treatment for patients become easy, and it will reduce some burden on health-care professionals.[3]

Claims databases are maintained for reimbursement purposes. They include pharmacy databases and health insurance records. These systems are generally maintained for billing and administration, and they can be used by researchers, health authorities, and insurers other stakeholders to provide long-term data on the impact of health interventions in “Real-world” (observational) studies.[4]

Some of the projects on health-care databases are:

  • The EHRs for clinical research (EHR4CR) project was initiated by the Europe's innovative medicines initiative that contain combined hospital data across countries which helps to identify sites and patients for trials
  • EHR for clinical research functional profile project (EHRCR) that allows doctors for evaluation of quality and security of their EHR systems and provide study teams with this information
  • The transform project was started with motto to develop a “rapid learning health-care system” that develop patient safety and boost up clinical research in Europe
  • The medicines and health-care products regulatory agency has introduced a position paper on consent problems and user requirements for EHRs. The position could be used to check the quality of EHRs.

  Advantages of Health-Care Databases Top

Health-care databases are a best way to monitor and improve the value of the health-care services and the well-being of the patients, which can be achieved by making information available on access to the appropriateness, effectiveness, and quality of health-care services and providers.

  • Effective risk-benefit assessment with patient-oriented quality of care
  • Automation and standardization of clinical processes with more convenience and efficiency
  • Huge data stores that can be used to inform better, more cost-effective care
  • Increase collaboration across the information-based medicine by breaking current data and communication flow barriers.

  Limitations of Health-Care Databases Top

  • Overwhelming amount of raw data can increase the workload of the user
  • Technical problems can occur during the process of data storage
  • Privacy and security issues due to the potential for hacking and related concerns
  • Storing inaccurate information can occur due to instantaneous nature of database.

  Future Prospects of Health-Care Databases Top

The limitations of using databases for health care have to be overcome by investing in funding, innovation, and resources for efficient utilization making such advancements would reduce health-care expenditure. It can help make an efficient diagnosis at an earlier time to reduce readmissions into hospitals and can give timely warnings to consumers to avoid complications, greatly reducing health-care expenditure. Databases can reduce costs of maintaining hospital infrastructure by monitoring the staffing, operation theater quality checks, ultimately reducing hospital expenditure.[5] The patient journey using data analytics was described in [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Patient journey using data analytics

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Database in imaging

Computer-aided detection systems review imaging studies which help in making better decisions in a short time by radiologists, patients can receive treatment at an earlier stage with lesser complications. Databases can be used by patients to see explore various treatment with a particular patient's clinical situation and can enable them to choose a treatment plan which is also convenient to their insurers. It can help the pharmaceutical industry provide their products to patients who are more likely to be treated with their products. The analytics obtained from databases can be used to make treatments patient-centric and personalized.[5]

Individualized medicine

Information obtained from genetics, human behavior, and environmental science can be used to develop more individualized medicine. This sector has a great scope in the future. Companies such as iCarbonX and Alphabet's Verily use patient's biological, behavioral, and psychological data to provide health analysis and predict risks and provide lifestyle recommendations.[6]

Creating patient communities

Patients with similar symptoms can share knowledge by forming local communities, and it can provide support and this can influence behavior change. Sharing success stories of fighting a disease can give moral support to patients still fighting the disease. The most prominent example would be Chatbot consultations with pregnant women.[6]

Quantum computing

Quantum computers use superposition and quantum entanglement to perform computing with big data analysis. Quantum theory can maximize the difference in the multilayer network. Quantum computing can be used to analyze data with smaller dataset than that required by conventional machine learning techniques.[7]

Integrative efforts utilizing bioinformatics, analytics, and health-care informatics to promote effective and personalized treatment can be the next big target. Health-care databases can be used to create easier, efficient, and cost-effective patient experiences. There is great scope for development in the near future.

  Conclusion Top

Health-care organizations across the world are in the phase of transition from paper-based document management systems to storing records electronically. Health-care databases have the potential to take medicine to a much better place. The sharing of information between the organizations will also help patient's access to better health care. Appropriate measures with additional security features to safeguard patient's data should be used when and wherever necessary. Patients should also be provided with clear information on how the data will be stored, used, and protected, addressing the security concerns. As the medical field is changing rapidly, there is a higher need for the right technology with better information management such as health-care databases. Hence, the impact of technology on data management should be better understood and put into practice.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Whitfield B. The Importance of Information Management and Databases in Health Care. Validic Blog Guest Post. Available from: https://validic.comthe-importance-of-information-management-databases-in-the- healthcare-industry/. [Last accessed on 2020 Jul 06].  Back to cited text no. 1
Dash S, Shakyawar, SK Sharma M. Big data in healthcare: Management, analysis and future prospects. J Big Data 2019;6:54.  Back to cited text no. 2
Haggerty J. Why Are Databases Important in Healthcare? Data Berry. Available from: https://www.databerry.com/news/why-are-databases-important-in-healthcare/. [Last accessed on 2020 Jul 06].  Back to cited text no. 3
Kalf R, Meinecke AK. Healthcare Databases: Focus on Electronic Health Records. RWE Navigator. Available from: https://rwe-navigator.eu/use-real-world-evidence/sources-of-real-world-data/healthcare-databases-with-a-focus-on-electronic-health-records/. [Last accessed on 2020 Jul 06].  Back to cited text no. 4
The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Health Care and Emerging Applications of AI in Health Care. Available from: https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/life-sciences-and-health-care/articles/future-of-artificial-intelligence-in-health-care.html. [Last accessed on 2020 Jul 06].  Back to cited text no. 5
Safavi K. Future of Patient Data. Accenture; June 2018. Available from: https://www.accenture.com/fi-en/insights/industry-x-0/future-patient-data#redesign-main. [Last accessed on 2020 Jul 06].  Back to cited text no. 6
Saffman M. Quantum computing with atomic qubits and rydberg interactions: Progress and challenges. J Phys B: At Mol Opt Phys 2016;49.  Back to cited text no. 7


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