Database Design for Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection of Breast Cancer
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This 13-week internship project in Cancer Cancer Nova Scotia was aimed to design a database to collect information of sentinel lymph node dissection (SLND) for the credentialing of physicians who are interested to provide this service for their breast cancer patients across Nova Scotia. The data elements that would be collected were determined with the help of surgeons and pathologists from QEII Health Sciences Center after the investigation of the clinical work routine and data flow. A data model was established for the design of a relational database using Microsoft Access 2003. A table scheme based on the underlying data model was defined and also a user-friendly form was designed to facilitate the data entry by physicians who perform SLND. As the credentialing process requires, a report format was designed with the desired parameters for credentialing automatically calculated based on the data provided by each physician. Two ongoing issues, the housing and security of the database, are still being discussed for optimal solutions. This internship was a typical informatics project that applied principles and tools of database management to solve a health care problem. The end product is a relational database to monitor the quality of a health care service, namely sentinel lymph node dissection, for breast cancer patients. This project also provides a model with great utility for Cancer Care Nova Scotia to ensure quality care provided to cancer patients.