Database Management Systems in Healthcare

According to the structure of the search input and the resulting reports, there are the following base tables in the database: hospitals, types of diseases, phases of trial, stages of trial, types of trials and drugs. More complex tables include basic info about the trial, detailed trial info, table listing what trials are linked to which hospitals, and table listing what trials are linked to which drugs, and contact information for trials. The records in the base table are likely to use auto incremental fields for encoding basic entities (except the types of diseases, which might be coded according to international standards). The most important table will be the basic info about the trial, where internal key of the trial will have to be generated, IRB and CC numbers of the trial will be listed, phase and stage of the trial, and type of the trial.

Key record for every trial will be used in the table using many-to-many relationships, such as trial-hospital and trial-drug tables. Index fields will be IRB and CC fields, type of the disease (associated key) and stage of the trial (associated key). The table with details of the trial will include key identifier of the trial and several memo fields containing the description, inclusion and exclusion criteria for the trial.

The limitations of this database are related mainly to the method of accessing it: since every online visitor can see the information about trials, the records cannot contain sensitive information, and the presentation of trial information cannot contain appropriate laboratory research, images and other useful information. The structure of the database also does not allow to search on the inclusion and exclusion criteria of the trials, as well as on the description of trials. Such searches might be highly useful for volunteers and for people dealing with non-precisely diagnosed diseases with cancer-like symptoms. Improved search would make this database even more effective that it is now. It should be noted that the use of standards, namely the inclusion of IRB and CC codes into the database, makes it highly effective for medical research and for medical professionals dealing with cancer (Tyrrell, 2002). Overall, Cleveland Clinic managed to implement a powerful instrument fostering the development of clinical research.

 

References

Search Cancer Clinical Trials. (2011). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved from http://my.clevelandclinic.org/cancer/clinical_trials/trials.aspx?utm_campaign=cancerclinicaltrials-url&utm_medium=offline&utm_source=redirect

Tyrrell, S. (2002). Using information and communication technology in healthcare. Radcliffe Publishing.

Wager, K.A. & Lee, W.L. & Glaser, G.P. (2009). Health Care Information Systems: A Practical Approach for Health Care Management. John Wiley and Sons.