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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences : Health Information

Postgraduate Course: Data standards and core technologies in health and social care (HEIN11044)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryRecords from health, social and care services are increasingly becoming digitised. As some service users move through the health, social and care services system, their service records must be accessible, linked, shared, and understandable across disparate systems. This course aims to provide students with a theoretical and practical understanding of the existing data standards and technologies used in data standardisation activities to design, evaluate and promote integration across health, social and care service information systems.
Course description The requirement for interoperable systems is evident in every component of health, social and care services delivery. Interoperability is the capacity of different information systems and software applications to communicate, exchange data accurately, effectively, and consistently, and use the exchanged information. However, to date, most health, social and care services data lack interoperability, as it is hidden in isolated databases or incompatible systems and is difficult to exchange, analyse, and interpret. Lack of interoperability results in service users receiving suboptimal services, impairs the management of services within and across health, social and care service systems, and limits data access for research and service development.
An important technology that has increased interoperability is the emergence of health and social services application programming interfaces (APIs). An API is a set of data standards that govern how software applications communicate so that data in one component of the health and social services system is accessible and meaningful across a wide range of health and social services information systems. Data standards are the rules that govern the way service user and administrative data is electronically stored within and exchanged across information systems. Data scientists need to understand data standards, as they will have to make key decisions about how and when data standards should be implemented; so that health, social, and care service professionals can seamlessly digest service user and administration records.

Course outline
This course will provide the foundations of data standards and technologies used to manage and exchange service user and administrative data within and across health and social services institutions. It will give an overview of interoperability, data standards, health, social and care services information and information exchange. The course will cover standards development organisations, health, social and care services, interoperability resources, terminology standards and application programming interfaces.

Experts in the field will explore case examples from various health, social and care service settings to demonstrate how organisations are making progress toward interoperability.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Flexible
Course Start Date 05/08/2023
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 5, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 1, Online Activities 35, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 5, Formative Assessment Hours 5, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 46 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Feedback Feedback is information provided to the students about their learning relative to learning outcomes. The two main types of feedback are formative and summative. Formative feedback is generated to engage learners to constantly reflect on how they can approach, orient and evaluate learning, which leads to successful learning outcomes. Summative feedback provides an evaluation of how much a student has learned at the end of the course through a final assessment.

Formative feedback will be provided throughout the course, for example, during live question and answer sessions, quizzes, and discussion boards. A formative task will also be offered before the student submits their assessed course work. All assignments will be marked, and feedback is provided within fifteen working days (where possible).
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of data standards and technologies in the health, social and care services sector.
  2. Apply logical, analytical, and problem-solving skills to recognise the need for interoperability and decide how and when data standards and technologies should be implemented within and across health, social and care service systems.
  3. Effectively communicate about interpretability, data standards and technologies with peers, more senior colleagues, and specialists within the local and broader health, social and care service sectors.
Reading List

P. Aspden, J.M. Corrigan and J Wolcott (2004) 'Health care data standards' in Patient safety: achieving a new standard for care, pp. 127-168.

T. Benson and G. Grieve (2016) Principles of health interoperability: SNOMED CT, HL7 and FHIR.

Policy papers:

Department of Health and Social Care (2018) The future of healthcare: our vision for digital, data and technology in health and care.

Local Government Association (2019) Local government social care data standards and interoperability.


C. Sunil Kumar, C.V. Guru Rao, and A. Govardhan (2010) A framework for interoperable healthcare information systems. Computer Information Systems and Industrial Management Applications (CISIM): 604-608.

M. Lehne, J. Sass, A. Essenwanger, J. Schepers and Sylvia Thun (2019) Why digital medicine depends on interoperability. NPJ Digital Medicine 2: 79.

Further specific journal articles will also be provided in the course information at the start of the course.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1) Mindsets:

Enquiry and lifelong learning
Students on this course will be encouraged to seek out ways to develop their expertise in data standards and technologies. They will also be encouraged to strive for excellence in their professional practice and to use established and developed approaches to resolve ethical challenges and data ownership issues as they arise in health and social care systems.

Aspiration and personal development
Students will be encouraged to draw on the quality, depth and breadth of their experiences to expand their potential and identify areas in which they wish to develop and grow. Students will also be encouraged to understand their responsibility within and contribute positively, ethically and respectfully to the health and social care community while acknowledging that different students and community members will have other priorities and goals.

Outlook and engagement
Students will be expected to take responsibility for their own learning. Students will be asked to use their initiative and experience, often explicitly relating to their professional, educational, geographical or cultural context, to engage with and enhance the learning of students from the diverse communities on the programme. Students will also be asked to reflect on their peers' experience and identify opportunities to enhance their learning.

2) Skills:

Research and enquiry
Students will use self-reflection to seek out learning opportunities. Students will also use the newly acquired knowledge and critical assessment to identify and creatively tackle problems and assimilate the findings of primary research and peer knowledge in their arguments, discussions and assessments.

Personal and intellectual autonomy
Students will be encouraged to use their personal and intellectual autonomy to critically evaluate learning materials and exercises. Students will also be supported through self-directed learning, discussion boards and collaborative activities to critically evaluate concepts, evidence and experiences of peers and superiors from an open-minded and reasoned perspective.

Personal effectiveness
Students will need to be effective and proactive learners that can articulate what they have learned, and have an awareness of their strengths and limitations, and a commitment to learning and reflection to complete this course successfully.

Effective data scientists' practitioners in the health and social care sector require excellent oral and written communication, presentation and interpersonal skills. The structure of the interactive (problem-based learning examples, discussion boards and collaborative activities) and assessment elements incorporate constant reinforcement and development of these skills.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMiss Michelle Evans
Tel: (0131 6)51 5440.
Course secretaryMiss Magdalena Mazurczak
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