Use of database Essay

Published: 2019-11-28 16:30:42
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Computer technology has given many precious gifts to mankind. One of them is the database technology. It has made administration, trade and commerce very easy, precise and fast. Operations which used to take long time, and were still full of errors, are now managed in few seconds, and are cent percent free of errors. At the heart of this remarkable success is the software program, which helps creation, segmentation , categorization and retrieval of databases. These programs are known as database management systems, DBMS programs have a long history.

Starting from very simple programs in 1960s they have developed into large, complex software packages like Oracle. While the management functions remain the same, the utility value and the facilities offered in newer versions differ vastly from their predecessors. This essay briefly analyzes the DBMS program used in a particular department of an organization and proposes hoe improvements could be made over the existing use of DBMS program. The organization is a market research agency. One of the departments is pharmaceutical research. The function of this department is to gather prescriptions of doctors from various

geographic locations across the country, analyze the symptoms, diagnosis and the drugs prescribed by the Doctor. These prescriptions are codified according to standardized international codes. Based on this coding, a generalized report is then prepared, which specifies which drug is used more in a given geographic location. This market research is very important to pharmaceutical companies for devising their marketing strategies. Here, the database program used for coding the symptoms, diagnosis and drugs is taken as an example for analysis. First, the function of coding is explained with an example.

Visits a doctor with a complaint of soar throat and difficulty in swallowing, coupled with fever. According to the directory of codes of symptoms of the company, symptom soar throat has a code 3323, difficulty in swallowing has a code 1018 and fever has a code 1286. If the doctor diagonizes throat infection as the cause for these symptoms, the code for it, as specified by WHO is J029. (ICD-10). Now, the doctor prescribes MOX-500 capsules, a drug which has Amoxycillin as its main content. The code of this drug is 05377-73, as per the company specification.

Those who do this coding job have to frequently refer to each code. The sum total of symptoms, diagnosis and drugs runs into a few thousand entries. Manual reference to these codes is very cumbersome. A database management program is designed to aids the coders. The package used is Foxpro. It is a two way system, wherein, the code could be traced if the name is given as an input and the name is given as an output if the number is given as an input. So, the coder can trace the code from any name and conversely, the name can also be traced with the

help of a numeric code. Like all the DOS based programs, this program is a very robust program, and easy to use. Name to Number program : This program contains all the data related to the symptoms, diagnosis and the drugs. While the name and its respective code are the main parameters displayed, the drug table also reveals the type of drug e. g. syrup. Tablet, capsule, injection etc and its respective capacities e. g. 5 ml, 200mg etc. Being a DOS based program, the database is indexed by the computer, each time it is accessed. The key command for a new entry are

alt-s keys on the keyboard. Even if the full name is not types, the program takes to the alphabetically ordered names of the data. For example, if only soar is typed as a new entry, the program gives and output of the first entry, out of all the entries starting from alphabets soar, or just typing pen will take the user to the first entry alphabetically listed with pen as the first three letters. The cursor needs to be taken down to locate the drug penicillin. Instructions regarding the keyboard controls for retrieval of information, traverse of the cursor

and exit from the program are permanently displayed at the bottom of the screen. These are the read only features. This means only three operations are possible on the program by the coder. Either he can type a name and get the code, or he can traverse the cursor or he can exit. It bears typical resemblance to the WordStar program, where the controls for operations were displayed whenever the program used to start. It is a completely textual program, simply because the basic software package, Foxpro/ Dos version, did not offer any GUI facilities. Like all other

DOS based programs, colors are non existent in this program. It is a black and white screen throughout its use. Number name program : Many times the coder need a reverse retrieval to be performed. That is, given a number, the corresponding name of the symptom, diagnosis and the drug is to be traced. This program offers this facility also. When the number is entered, its validity is checked and if it is a correct number corresponding to the database, then the name of the drug, diagnosis or the symptom is given out as an output. In the case of drug display, the other parameters like

the type e. g. syrup, tablet, capsule etc are also displayed. This part also has all the features and limitations typically associated with a DOS based program. This program, even in its present form, based on the technology of early 1990s is extremely useful to the coders. Especially when it comes to coding few hundred prescriptions every day, this program helps in a speedy and precise coding procedure. The codes are written manually by the coder on a printed form on paper. Improvements: Several improvements are not only possible on the current system but it is a necessary demand of time.

First, Windows 98 is soon expiring as the last GUI operating system which can support DOS based applications. The next most popular OS, Windows-XP does not support DOS based applications. Even the new and latest processors like the Dual Core by Pentium and motherboards, do not support Windows-98. Hence, technically, it will be impossible to run this program, the latest computers. It is the demand of time, that a Windows based DBMS used. This can be MS Access, Foxpro/ Win, or Oracle, but a switch over to GUI based application development is a must. Second, the codes, after being retrieved, are written manually.

A new application needs to be developed, wherein the need to write the codes separately on a different sheet is eliminated. The coder inserts the name of the symptom, diagnosis or the drug and the corresponding number of the code should be automatically entered in the blank format of the form. The concept of relational database comes into picture over here. The database needs to be related to many blank forms, in such a way that a new form comes on the screen no sooner one is over. As soon as the name is typed in the form, the code must be retrieved by the software and entered in the form.

The third factor is to add the utility value of the program. The same program can be extended to keep a record of the name of the coder who has accessed this program and the amount of work done by him/her. This feature facilitates speedy calculation of the monetary remuneration to be given to the coder. A record of signing in time and sign out time will also tell how much time the coder has put in. This record would be useful to gauge the efficiency of the coder. Seeing to the requirements of the improved version, a switch over to Oracle is more desirable, for the versatility and flexibility it offers.

One more issue arises out of this discussion. Is the development in computers heading in the right direction? Despite all the progress in the software industry, no program has been able to replace the command. com file of DOS. All versions of Windows also rely upon DOS for their booting functions. Similarly, coders do not have any problem with the program they are working at present, which is over a decade old. The basic question is: Is all the development necessary? Or is it that needs are first created and then devices are made to suffice them? Or is it that under

the umbrella of user friendly Bill Gates has prevented people from getting to know the inner aspects of a computer? A calculator was a good invention, but has it always helped mankind? Has it not put limitations on the mental calculating capacities? Our ancestors had no problems in adding 40 numbers , fast and precise. For the present generation it is impossible. The developments in computers, have reduced the computer, a PC, to a mere entertainment tool, and the internet has become a tool for chat and social networking for a vast majority of users. Any development is real only if it helps in sharpening of minds, not rusting it !!!

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