Constraint Checking using DB2 pureXML and DataPower: An Evaluation based on the Healthcare Environment

This work has been finished in October 2008.

There are a variety of different sources where electronic healthcare information may be produced, such as equipment measuring parameters of the human body or personnel entering patient information into a healthcare information application. Representing healthcare information electronically allows to exchange information quickly utilizing all of information technology’s advantages. One of the keys for electronic healthcare information exchange is a common format to represent information, such as it is specified through healthcare standards.

Regardless of the source of information, there are different possibilities where healthcare information may result into erroneous or faulty information. The source of erroneous information may be physical equipment producing wrong results, as well as a human entering wrong information into an information system. Having healthcare information available electronically, and moreover represented in a common format such as it is specified through healthcare standards, allows the processing of information using healthcare information applications. Therefore, one of the goals of this thesis is to identify different sources in healthcare information processing where erroneous information may occur. Based on these findings, notations are identified that may be used to define constraints. The purpose of constraints is to allow the definition of rules, which may then be applied to healthcare information, in order to discover inconsistent and erroneous parts thereof. Furthermore, different technologies, including hardware and software, are described which may be used to apply constraints.

With the necessary theoretical background and technology, a fictional scenario is described. The purpose of the scenario is to illustrate different approaches to define and apply constraints to evaluate the quality and consistency of healthcare information. In particular, three different approaches are implemented and illustrated. It is then shown how constraint notations and the technology to apply constraints may support didactics in the healthcare area. The results found during the implementation and illustration of three different approaches are then evaluated, compared, and described. The findings include characteristics, advantages and disadvantages of each of the approaches taken. It is found that not all constraint notations and technologies are capable to define and apply constraints in order to discover erroneous healthcare information. However, even though certain technologies show limits, they have other advantages such as the configuration of a hardware device instead of creating an entire software application. Finally, the conclusion of this thesis points to further areas where exploratory work is needed, but which has been beyond the scope of this thesis.


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Christian Pichler
Dipl.-Ing. Mag.rer.soc.oec. Dr.techn.