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What do you mean? The role of data dictionaries in eHealth

What is an admission? You ask an ER physician and they will say it is when the patient with a stab wound enters the emergency room. Ask the trauma surgeon and they think it’s when they write “Admit to Trauma” on the chart (even if the patient is still physically at the ER). And when you ask the trauma ward nurse, they’ll say it’s when the patient is actually on the bed in the ward.

To add to the confusion, a neurosurgical patient (in PGH at least) who is placed in a borrowed bed in Ophthalmology will be counted by the NSS as an admission, but also by the Ophthalmology ward nurses.

What is happening here?

This is the result of the lack of a data dictionary. Essentially, a formalized method for defining concepts in a given milieu.

The Australian Institute for Health and Welfare has their METeOR, the Canadians have this.

The Philippines has started work on it. The lead agency is the Department of Health.

How about your organization? Do you have a data dictionary?