Healthcare Databases & Information Systems Course


Topic: Basic SQL & Data Cleaning

Learning Module Objectives:

After completing the activities in this section, you should be able to:

  • Distinguish among types of SQL commands
  • Create tables and insert values using SQL
  • Filter data using SELECT and FROM commands
  • Filter data using WHERE, HAVING and GROUP BY commands
  • Set relationships among tables
  • Access fields in different tables through join statements
  • Rank order data
  • Use functions to manipulate dates
  • Use functions to manipulate text

Learning Material

  1. Preparing data from Electronic Health Records for analysis (use instructor's last name as password) Read►
  2. Types of SQL commands Slides► Video►
  3. Creating tables in Microsoft Server SQL Read► Slides► Video►
  4. Convert VarChar data type into Float Slides►
  5. SELECT command Slides► Video►
  6. GROUP BY command Slides► Video►
  7. WHERE and HAVING commands Slides► Read► Video►
  8. Introduction to joins Slides► Video► Read►
  9. RANK and row numbers Slides► Video►
  10. Date functions Slides► Video►
  11. Text manipulation Slides► Video►
  12. SQL code for cleaning the data Slides► Video►

Teach One Assignment

If you are supposed to teach about this section of the course, select one of the assignments, do the assignment and show it to the instructor to make sure you have done it correctly.  Prepare your slides, narrate your slides, remove excess words from narrated slides, convert narrated slides to a file format that can be uploaded,  upload your file, email everyone in the class the URL of your file.  Make sure that all these tasks are done ahead of scheduled class session.  Your peers will appreciate receiving your advice on how to solve a class assignment as soon as possible and well before last day prior to class session.

Individual Assignments

No individual assignment should be completed in teams.  Submit your work in Blackboard.  Do not discuss the work with other students. 

Question 1: Calculate various queries using the data provided

  • Import data from the following four files into four tables. Ptid►  Claims► ICD► CPT►
  • Identify patients that have diabetes in the above database.  
  • Calculate the average cost of each diagnosis sorted from most expensive to least expensive.  Exclude all bills with negative or 0 values.  
  • Show if men are more likely to have diabetes than women.  
  • Calculate which month is most likely to have a diagnosis reported.  

Question 2:  Download the attached file of ICD9 codes and descriptions and find the seven errors in the data, where the same ICD9 code has been assigned different descriptions. Data► 

Question 3: Using the data you imported in previous week, count how many patients continue to visit despite having been reported to be dead.  Data►

Question 4: Using the data you imported last week, use GROUP BY and COUNT to report how many patients have same diagnosis occurring at same age, essentially having a duplicate entry in the database.  Data►

Team Assignment

Each week you will be complete a team assignment. Each week you are to work with a classmate that you have not previously worked with, so that by the end of this course, you will have completed team, assignments with 8 different partners.

General Requirements

  • Work in teams of 2 persons, not 3 and not 1.  
  • Upon submission, indicate the name of your team member.  
  • Each member of the team should submit a separate assignment.  
  • No copying of code from each other but feel free to learn from each other. The data reported must be the same. Come to an agreement on the findings and help each other to arrive to the same findings.
  • If team assignments are completed with individual effort, then the student loses 10% of the grade.   

Imagine Cure Before Disease

Team Tasks:

  1. Download data in zipped files.
  2. Merge the files.
  3. For password contact your instructor.  
  4. Do not share the data file.  By opening this file you agree not to share the file with anyone.  
  5. Unzip the files, first to get to the directory and then to get to the actual file.
  6. Import data into Microsoft SQL server.  
  7. To create the database, open SQL server and right click on the database and start a new database.  Select "Tasks," select "Import Data," select "Flat File Source" as the source of the data, change file type to "CSV Files," browse to where you unzipped the files, indicate that field names are in the first row, select as destination "SQL Server Native Client" file type.   Video► Download► SQL► Slides► Screen Shots►
  8. Remove blanks from numeric data, such as DxAtAge.  
  9. Convert text data in the AgeAtDeath to float.  This is typically done through if statements such as these:
    • IIF(DxAtAge >0, DxAtAge, Null)
    • IIF(AgeAtDeath="Null", Null, cast(AgeAtDeath AS Float))
  10. Identify individuals whose date of death or birth might be in error and have visits post date of death or prior to birth. Exclude them. Access► SQL Code►
  11. Remove diagnoses occurring more than once for the same patient at same age
  12. Remove patient ids that are null or start with Z.  
  13. Remove diagnoses for patients whose age of diagnosis is null
  14. Remove diagnoses that occur before patient is 21 years old or when patient is more than 99 years old
  15. Rank order diagnosis in order of their reoccurrence for the same person. Assign ranks for diagnoses that occur for the same person once, twice, three times, four times, or more than 5 times.  Remove diagnoses that re-occur more than 5 times.
  16. Order the data by patient ID and diagnosis and rank of diagnosis

To complete this team assignment,  upload the first 4 lines of the merged clean data into a word file to Blackboard. Both team members must mention each other in the uploaded document.  The 4 lines of data results for both team members should be the same, work together until you achieve the same results. The SQL code could be different. Each student will upload their files by Sunday, 11:55 PM, EST.


  1. Definition, content and use of electronic health records among United States providers  PubMed►
  2. Microsoft Access
    1. Creating tables and records Read► Video►
    2. Creating forms Video► Slides►
    3. Create hierarchical relationships  Video► SWF►
    4. Introduction to queries SWF►

Copyright © 1996 Farrokh Alemi, Ph.D. First created on January 9th 2005. Most recent revision 09/27/2018. This page is part of the course on Healthcare Databases, the lecture on Tables and Records.