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 compact preferably a number 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.
Module 3 Outcomes
Database Characteristics and the Language of Health Information
o Identify the language of Health Informatics data types coding and standards.
o Compare and contrast their difference between healthcare disciplines and how they can be integrated.
o Describe fundamental database characteristics.
o Describe various types of medical data and records associated with various health care disciplines.
o Explain the importance of uniform standards for terminology and coding.
o Identify various health information standards and standards organizations.