The most common type of database used in hospitals and across the health care industry is the online transaction processing database, also known as the OLTP, which stores entered data instantly. Generally each hospital department or functional unit, such as radiology, runs on its own, separate OLTP database. Hospitals use a second type of database, the online analytic processing database, to combine all data from each of the OLTP databases and to perform analyses of this combined data.
The OLTP is commonly known as an enterprise data warehouse. An enterprise data warehouse ensures that all hospital data is available for analysis and planning at all times without compromising data integrity or security. The types of databases integrated within a hospital's enterprise data warehouse include not only patient and clinical data but also administrative data related to providers, payers and claims.
The enterprise data warehouse makes it possible for hospitals and other health care providers to fulfill federal mandates that their data systems comply with electronic health records and health information exchange requirements, while not compromising patient confidentiality and ensuring compliance with the medical coding requirements.
Hospitals and other health care institutions monitor their database and data integration systems 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They must also track data growth to ensure the availability of adequate data storage capacity.