Health data and analytics

link to the course.  Approximately 16 hours

Structured data is usually organised in specific fields with designated purposes. It is generally displayed in database tables and may be easily processed. As structured data is easily queried, stored, analysed, structured and manipulated by machines, users are able to perform tasks including, searching data, preventing drug interactions and checking for drug allergies. Structured and semi-structured data in healthcare consist of instrument readings and data created by paper records as well as Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and Electronic Medical Records (EMRs).

Unstructured healthcare data consists of medical records, notes written by physicians and nurses, hospital notes, discharge summaries, paper prescriptions and radiographic images (Magnetic Resonance Imaging [MRI], Computed Tomography [CT]). As opposed to their counterpart, unstructured data is included in non-relational databases and is not usually organised into specific structures.

Semi-structured data can be defined as data that has not been organized into databases, but that has associated information, such as metadata, that makes it more amenable to processing than raw data.


The UK healthcare system.

The Institute of Medicine defines learning health system (LHS) as: “science, informatics, incentives, and culture are aligned for continuous improvement and innovation, with best practices seamlessly embedded in the delivery process and new knowledge captured as an integral by-product of the delivery experience” As the name implies, an LHS is constantly learning from every patient because everything that occurs in the system is recorded, made easily accessible and retrievable and used to improve the services. This informs the decision-making of all users, advances medical research and allows improvement of health outcomes and systems.

An LHS depends largely on the collection and interpretation of big data. By enhancing research, improving information flow and education, LHS has the potential to improve patient care while allowing continuous improvement.

The Potential of Learning Healthcare Systems

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