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Open Access Research

Enabling flexible integration of healthcare information using the entity-attribute-value storage model

Dortje Löper*, Meike Klettke, Ilvio Bruder and Andreas Heuer

Author Affiliations

Database Research Group, University of Rostock, 18051 Rostock, Germany

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Health Information Science and Systems 2013, 1:9  doi:10.1186/2047-2501-1-9

Published: 4 February 2013

Abstract

Background

For an optimal care of patients in home healthcare, it is essential to exchange healthcare-related information with other stakeholders. Unfortunately, paper-based documentation procedures as well as the heterogeneity between information systems inhibit a well-regulated communication. Therefore, a digital patient care record is introduced to establish the foundation for integrating healthcare-related information.

Methods

For the digital patient care record, suitable integration techniques are required that store data in a compact way and offer flexibility as well as robustness. For this purpose, a generic storage structure based on the entity-attribute-value (EAV) model is introduced. This storage structure fulfills the stated requirements and incoming information can be stored directly without any loss of data.

Evaluation Results and Discussions

First performance tests regarding the query response time are given in this paper. The tests measured the connection time, the query execution time, and the time for traversing the result set. The time for executing the query is lowest. The time for traversing the results strongly depends on the number of documents. A concept comparison to other integration techniques is also presented.

Conclusions

This approach offers flexibility concerning different standard types and the evolution in healthcare knowledge and processes. It also allows for highly sparse data to be stored in a compact way. The underlying database structure is presented, the import process for extracting incoming reports is described and the export process for generating new outgoing standardized reports is briefly illustrated.