In health informatics, discrete data is data that is measurable. It’s also known as quantitative data. This is opposed to continuous data, which is qualitative and requires interpretation to comprehend properly. The use of discrete data in healthcare IT systems and their underlying databases is essential for increasing the accuracy of patient care. It also can improve interoperability translations and data analysis.
What Does Discrete Data Look Like in Healthcare?
Two key requirements for discrete data is that it be measurable and reportable.
To understand what that means in healthcare data, suppose a physician wrote a prescription for a patient to take 325 mg of aspirin twice daily for three days. In a database that properly stores the prescription information as discrete data, the fields would look like this:
This is properly formatted discrete data because each part of the prescription is measurable, and it’s reportable because a report writer could choose the correct fields to build many different reports. For example, one report could be the single prescription in this example, and another could be for “all prescriptions for 325 mg of aspirin.”
Now, consider if the prescription was stored as continuous data:
In this case, the data is qualitative—a human would have to interpret this record and each prescription like it to build reports. Building the report of “all prescriptions for 325 mg of aspirin” would be difficult at best, and not feasible with continuous data on thousands of prescriptions.
The use of discrete data reduces mistakes and ensures that each unit of information is properly understood. That’s why discrete data is essential in electronic medical records and other healthcare systems.
How TempDev Can Help With Discrete Data
TempDev’s team of NextGen consultants, developers, and trainers can help you implement, switch, or even upgrade your current EHR system. From dashboards, templates, and reports to revenue cycle consulting, automation, and workflow redesign, TempDev offers the tools you need to make the most of your NextGen EHR system.
Contact us here or call us at 888.TEMP.DEV to get the help you need working with discrete data in the healthcare systems at your organization.
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