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

Postgraduate Course: Introduction to databases and information systems (HEIN11048)

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
SummaryThis course introduces students to the practical application of current databases and information systems for dealing with data from the health information exchanges, health insurers, and other stakeholders in the health, social and care services sector. The course will focus on the practical application, database and information systems regarding underlying design limitations and assesses their implications on the management and organisation of health and social care service delivery.
Course description 1) Academic description
Data is one of the most important assets of health, social and care services and plays a central role in the management and organisation of service delivery resources. For health, social and care services data to be turned into meaningful information and knowledge that enables and supports decision making, administration and service user data must be collected, stored, secured, maintained, accessed, processed and analysed. Databases are the structured datasets, and information systems are the complex software programs that allow health, social and care service professionals to perform these tasks in an efficient, reliable, safe and secure way. But without a critical understanding of what databases and information systems are, and how they work together within and across health, social, and care service settings, these powerful tools can be less useful. This course introduces the principles underlying the design, implementation and use of databases and information systems in the health, social and care services context.
2) Course outline
Databases and information systems provide technology and support that enable information exchange for health, social and care services professionals, enterprises, and the care sector. The course will introduce databases and information systems used in the health, social and care services sector. The course will also explore the integration and linkage of data across information systems across the health, social, and care services and the future landscape of health, social, and care service databases and information system.
The practical aspects of the course will focus on relational databases, relational database management systems, and the SQL (Structured Query Language) used in programming and managing data held in database management systems, information systems, and socio-technical issues associated with the use and implementation of databases and information systems. Students will get hands-on experience writing SQL commands to filter, sort, manipulate, manage and summarise real-world health, social and care services data held in a relational database management system.
3) Student Learning Experience
Students will learn from database and information systems experts. The course is delivered online and is divided into five sessions, each lasting a week. Teaching sessions will be composed of written materials, video presentations, coding exercises, and problem-based learning questions.
Discussion of the content and reading materials will be posted to an online forum, along with students' answers to the problem-based learning questions. Course tutors will moderate discussion boards. Students will further evidence their learning by writing SQL queries to a given specification by the end of the course.
Formative peer and teacher-led feedback will be given throughout the course through the discussion boards, and summative assessment feedback will be provided at the end of the course.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Introduction to data science in health and social care (HEIN11037) OR Health Data Science (HEIN11060)
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 %

Formative feedback will be provided throughout the course through discussion board postings
The health and social care information systems in which service providers and digital technologies operate tend to be highly structured and constrain content, and do not permit service providers to share service user information across care organisations because of inadequate linkages and coordination among the components of health and social care.
To improve students understanding of how databases and information systems function across the health, social and care services sector, and how digital technologies impact service provision along care pathways. Students already interact with databases and information systems in everyday life. This assessment will provide real-world datasets of health, social and care service, which students will critically examine.
Students will investigate the roles and structures of information systems and students will write SQL commands to filter, sort, manipulate, merge, manage, and summarise data and apply their learning over the five-week course.
Assessment summary:
LO1 and LO3: Digital Poster - (20%)
LO1, LO2 and LO3: Programming Report - (80%)

Formal summative assessment will include a poster in week two and a final report at the end of the course, which will constitute 20%, 80% of the overall course grade
Digital technologies: everyday database and information systems poster (20%). In week two, students will be asked to select from a list of systems, describe the system, map the impact of their selected system onto the delivery of care, and present finding using a digital poster.
Digital technologies: Programming report (80%). At the end of the course, students will select a dataset and apply their knowledge of SQL and databases. They will create a database appropriate for their data and execute SQL queries to extract information and insights. Using the data, students will explore the challenges of analysing real-world data and the extent which data is used to support the delivery of care.
Students will then write a report describing their database, analysis, results and report their findings to a selected audience (technical or non-technical).
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 involves feedback given during an assessment, while summative feedback is provided after an assessment has been completed.

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 submitting their summative 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 databases and information systems and the context in which they are used in healthcare and social service organisations.
  2. Apply a significant range of logical, analytical, and problem-solving skills to use the SQL programming language to query databases.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively with specialists, and non-specialists about databases and information systems and their socio-technical context and processes of implementation and use.
Reading List
Recommended books:
R. Martinho, R. Rijo, M.M. Cruz-Cunha and J. Varajão (2013) Information systems and technologies for enhancing health and social care.
T. M. Connolly and C. E. Begg (2014) Database systems: a practical approach to design, implementation and management.
R. M. P. Teate (2021) SQL for Data Scientists: A Beginner¿s Guide for Building Datasets for Analysis
Electronic copies of Martinho et al. (2013), Connolly and Begg (2014), and Teate (2021) are available to download from the University of Edinburgh Library.
Specific readings will also be selected nearer the time of course delivery.
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 databases and information systems. They will also be encouraged to strive for excellence in their professional practice and to use established and developed approaches to resolve database and information system problems as they arise in health and social care organisations and enterprises.

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 learning. Students will be asked to use on 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 the experience of their peers 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.
KeywordsDatabases,SQL,data querying,query languages,information systems
Course organiserMr Kevin Tsang
Course secretaryMrs Laura Miller
Tel: (0131 6)51 5575
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