HESY 480

This course introduces students to design and use of health and medical databases.  It provides hands-on experience with use of Microsoft Access and MySQL databases.  It explores use of electronic medical records and examines the application of information systems to clinical and managerial transactions.  Students learn to create, maintain and analyze healthcare databases.  Applications to analysis of data in electronic health records to clinical decision aids are discussed. 

Course Objectives

At the conclusion of the course participants should be able to:

  • Effectively manage healthcare information using MS Access database tool.
  •  Design healthcare databases.
  • Structure queries and reports to describe complex relationships between fields in healthcare databases.
  • Optimize data structures and tables that eliminate duplication, unnecessary data entry, and confusion.
  • Import, export, and link data tables across platforms.
  • Merge, analyze, and query healthcare databases to produce new information.

Program Competencies Addressed

For an overview of competencies needed for management of health information systems, see some of these resources:  Slides► Listen MP4 You Tube► Read►

Competency Level Where Methods Evaluation
Q4. Analyze the purpose, benefits, applications, and evaluation of clinical information systems
Q5. Analyze the purpose, benefits, applications, and evaluation of management information systems
  • Interactive lecture
  • In-class lab
  • Web-based videos
  • Weekly assignments
  • Midterm paper and final exam
Q.6 Use information systems to plan improvements in the quality and safety of patient care Analysis  
  • Interactive lectures
  • In-class lab
  • Web-based videos
  • Weekly assignments
  • Midterm paper and final exam
A.4. Apply quantitative methods and evidence from research studies to assist in making management decisions and assessing the quality of patient care Application


  • In-class lab
  • Web-based videos
  • All assignments
  • Midterm paper and final exam

Required Textbooks

  • None
  • All required reading is posted to the web.

Recommended Textbooks

  • Hernandez MJ.  Database design for mere mortals, a hands-on guide to relational database design More►
  • Taylor AG.  SQL for dummies:  A reference for the rest of us.  More

Course Requirements

  • A bachelor or higher degree from an accredited University. The course is limited to graduate students.

  • Familiarity with the US health care system. All examples are from the US health care system.

  • Computer, modem, microphone, speaker, phone line and Internet connection.  A fast computer and modem will save you considerable time in this course.

  • Daily use of email, including ability to attach files to emails.

  • Microsoft Power Point is needed for viewing some portions of reading and reporting on projects.

  • A microphone is need to narrate Power Point slides

  • Both clinicians and managers are encouraged to enroll.

Teaching Methods/Strategies

This course is organized on the principles of "Learn one, Do one, Teach one."   Students learn by listening to recorded lectures or interacting with the face to face or online instructors.  The learning is reinforced by asking students to do a project.  Finally, in some projects students learn by commenting on each other's work.


  1. Design a database in group of 2-3 people or by yourself.  For details see the Mental Health Court project.  More►
  2. Suggest an alternative database design project that fits your career better.  Email►
  3. Calculate severity measurement using claims data from electronic health records.  More►
  4. Remove Master Index errors

Course Evaluation

Participation is key to making the experience of everyone a pleasant one. Participation means that you need to review all course sections and complete all exercises provided on a timely basis (maximum of one week after lecture date), ask questions about the topic and evaluate the topic presentations.  Weekly assignments are graded as pass/fail. 

Distribution of the grade

Letter grades will correspond to the following numerical grades:
Final exam 25%
Weekly assignments 25%
Projects 45%
Participation 5%
93+ A
90-92 A -
87-89 B +
83-86 B
80-82 B -
70-79 C
70 - F

Course Topical Outline

Week Lecture Objectives


Assignments (due 1 week after lecture)

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Email Contact

If you are enrolled in this course, you would receive weekly communications from the course faculty.  In order to make sure that you receive the information on time, please provide us with your email address.  Email►

More Information

See more information about course instructors This page is part of the course on Clinical databases.  It was first created in 1996.  It was last edited on 05/26/2018 by Farrokh Alemi, Ph.D.  Copyright protected.