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Basic Informatics Terms

Informatics:  The science and art of turning data into information. 

Healthcare informatics:  The use of educational technology for healthcare clients or the general public.  This is differentiated from medical informatics which focuses on IT involving patient care and medical decision-making. 

 Privacy:  Privacy is a state of mind where one has control over disclosure of self or personal information.

Confidentiality:  Confidentiality involves an established relationship in which private information has been shared.

 Information Security:  This is different from information privacy, which is the right to choose the conditions and extent to which information is shared.  Information security is the protection of information against threats to its integrity, inadvertent disclosure or availability.

Platforms:  Specific vendors and technologies that an organization chooses for its information systems.

Infrastructure:  The organization’s computer networks and perhaps to the applications running on those networks.

Architecture:  Encompasses much more than specific technologies and networks. 

Best of Breed:  Describes an architecture that allows each department to pick the best application it can find and that then attempts to integrate these applications by means of an interface engine that manages the transfer of data between these applications. 

Monolithic:  The architecture of a set of applications that all come from one vendor and that all use a common database management system and common user interface.

Functional requirements:  Include an in-depth knowledge of what one wants to accomplish with the IS system given the capabilities of the system. In other words, the end-user must know what the IS system is capable of doing in order to set realistic expectations.

Non-Functional Requirements:  Constraints and qualities.  “Qualities are properties or characteristics of the system that its stakeholders care about and hence will affect their degree of satisfaction with the system. Constraints are not subject to negotiation and, unlike qualities, are off-limits during design trade-offs”

System architecture:  how all the technologies fit together within an organization to support health care applications.

Interface engine:  a software program designed to simplify the creation and management of interfaces between application systems.

Operating systems:  may be proprietary like Windows or open source like Linux.

Single sign-on system:  users can access all the information they need through a single user interface.

Middleware:  a class of software that works between or in the middle of applications and operating systems. Applications that check for viruses, medical logic processors and data encryption software. 

Relational database management system (RDBMS): Microsoft Access.  Three distinct components or layers:

  1. The interface is developed using software like Visual Basic or Java
  2. The bottom layer is created with a special type of software, a data definition language (DDL).  The DDL creates the database table structure and the relationships among the various tables.  Each table can be thought of as a file, with each row in the table being a record and each column being a field or piece of data.
  3. In between the data tables and the interface, an RDBMS has a data manipulation layer.  These functions are performed by DML which is software that allows the user to retrieve, query, update and edit the data in the underlying tables. 

Structured query language:  SQL — Language most widely used for both the DLL and DML.  The user specifies what must be done, but not how it must be done. 

Open Database Connectivity (ODBC):  Developed for the database application program interface (API). 

Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD):  Graphically depicts the tables and relationships in a simple relational database. 

Object-Oriented Database (OODB):  The basic component is an object rather than a table.  An object includes both data and the relationships among the data in a single conceptual structure.

Object-Oriented Database Management System (OODBMS):  Uses classes and subclasses that inherit characteristics from one another in a hierarchical manner. Can add and use objects.