Database configurations can be quite confusing in a healthcare facility. This is mostly because there are so many types of databases and each is designed for a specific purpose. A given organization may have many different database configurations because the organization needs systems that can perform the many different functions required for operations on a daily basis.
Transactional databases work best for day to day functions. Multiple users can access these databases at the same time. Transactional databases typically perform functions such as admissions and discharges, accounting, inventory and others necessary functions They store current data for operations.
Analytical databases are used for calculations. They do not store data, but instead access data stored in other areas. Few users access these databases typically for reports and analysis.
Distributed databases are data that is stored on several different computers. This is used by facilities with multiple branches or locations. The distributed database allows for the storage of only the necessary data for the branch with access to the data stored at the other locations if necessary.
External databases are just that, databases that are off-site. These are used for research, marketing, and data storage. Examples of this are sales lists that are purchased from companies, or back-up storage for imaging data for a radiology department.
A single organization would want to have several different databases in order to achieve daily, monthly, and yearly functions. These different databases allow for the many types of users to use the data without interfering with each other.
These different database configurations can be very beneficial for an organization when used correctly. It makes perfect sense to have each type of database because each one is designed to accomplish the specific tasks that are necessary for an organization to carry out business operations. The value of this is that all the components of the system are optimized for their specific purpose. Essentially the components for each system can be customized so that operations run smoothly and do not interfere with each other.
Merida Johns. 2002. Information Management for Health Professions: Delmar