Before we talk about a dental DSO data warehouse, let’s go back a little in time. When the world was just getting used to computers, there was another interesting discovery about to happen. It’s Data Warehouse, which was first introduced as a concept by Paul Murphy and Barry Devlin. These two researchers from IBM in the 1980s were playing with the idea of the business data warehouse to provide a centralized data management system.
Well, this is something most people know, but they aren’t the first ones to talk about data warehouses. It’s in fact, Bill Inmon who was first to use the term data warehouse in the 1970s. That’s the reason he is called the father of the data warehouse. Inmon worked on a high-level data flow architecture, known as the Corporate Information Factory.
Well, that was a small history lesson. Let us discuss the topic at hand, which is Data Warehouse.
What is Data Warehouse?
The term data warehouse is self-explanatory as to a place that stores large amounts of data, but that’s not it. While that’s one of the key features of a data warehouse, it’s much more than cloud or traditional storage. A data warehouse’s major feature is to provide data analytics.
In a data warehouse, data is collected and stored from multiple sources in a centralized way. This data is then analyzed to apply various business intelligence strategies to make informed decisions. Making informed and strategical decisions for an organization is a crucial feature of a data warehouse, be it a dental practice, dental DSO (Dental Support Organizations), or any other organization.
What Data Warehouse Does for Dental Clinics and Dental DSO?
When it comes to implementing data warehousing for a dental practice or a DSO many people ask the question of what a data warehouse can do for them? While the whole process of how it works is the same for a dental DSO or any other organization, except for the data part. A huge amount of PMS (Practice Management System) data can be integrated into a data warehouse that makes the whole patient data management walk in the park.
Now, when you have a data warehouse for a DSO or dental practice, a single API (Application Programming Interface) is enough to access all the data. The ONE API application lets the users get access to various insights from the heterogenous PMS data. There are also various types of data warehouses (which we will discuss later), some of them are PMS agnostic – like BPK Tech’s Data Warehouse.
In case you are unfamiliar with what a PMS agnostic data warehouse means, it means that the data warehouse works with any kind of PMS. This is one of the best features to have when you are looking for a data warehouse for a DSO or dental practice. Apart from being PMS agnostic, having Machine Learning and Data Engineering capabilities, make it even better.
Components of Data Warehouse
A data warehouse is built up of multiple components due to its huge structure. The access tools, metadata, ETL (extract, transfer, load), and the central database are the components that make up a data warehouse. Each of these components plays a unique role in its functioning. Let us understand each component in a bit more detail.
Imagine a base infrastructure for the data warehouse and that’s what a central database is, which is sort of like a foundation. Depending on the type of data warehouse, this database might be on a cloud or just on a traditional RDBMS (Relational Database Management Systems).
While some may argue that RDBMS is not the right choice for data warehousing since it isn’t optimized for that, the issue can be fixed when the said databases are deployed in parallel. The reason for using a parallel development of the relational database is to provide scalability and shared memory. Similarly, using new index structures and multidimensional databases are a few ways for the RDBMS in data warehouses.
ETL (extract, transform, load) and ELT (extract, transform, load) are the two common processes used in data warehousing for data integration. Out of the two, ETL is again the most used one for data extraction and integration. Using the ETL tools one can transform the data in a way that works with your data warehouse.
Some of the functionalities of ETL tools are
- Derive and summarize data from multiple sources.
- In case data needs anonymity and restricted access then this tool can do that.
- Adds default values to missing data.
- Undesirable data in the operational databases can be removed if not required for loading in the data warehouse.
If you want to learn the differences between ETL and ELT, check out this qlik article on the same.
Metadata helps to understand the data in your database, which basically is data that talks about, well, data. This tells you the source of data, along with its value, features, and usage of data in a data warehouse. When you have all that information, you can use that data to build, maintain, and manage your entire data warehouse.
Let me make it even simpler for you. For example, there is raw data, something like 5873 UY009 2.445. Can you understand what this data is all about? No, right. With metadata, you will know its source, value, usage, and pretty much everything you need to know.
In the case of the above data, it means something like this. 5873 is the model number, UY009 is the workforce agent ID, and the rest is the sales amount. It also tells you to reload the count of data in the data warehouse, attributes, keys, and tables in a data warehouse, etc. One other thing to know is that there are two kinds of metadata.
- Business Metadata (useful for administrators and designers)
- Technical Metadata (useful for end-users)
Access Tools for Data Warehouse
There are quite a few tools that help users to access data from a data warehouse. Each tool brings in different functionality. These functionalities include interacting with the data, and reporting tools for analysis or operational reports, among a few others. Tools like reporting tools, query tools, data mining, OLAP, and application development tools are the access tools for a data warehouse.
A query tool allows users to interact with the data from the data warehouse to make informed business decisions. Most of the time, it is useful for businesses as it helps them with strategies. There are also managed query tools that help users fix issues with the database in the data warehouse.
As the name suggests, this provides reporting on the data from the data warehouse. There are two types in these. One is the report writer tool and the other one is the production reporting tool. The former helps with the analysis of data for the end-user, while the latter helps organizations to develop organizational reports.
Application Development Tools
This helps to generate custom reports of the data using the graphical charts and reports.
Data Mining Tools
Extracting the data isn’t enough when you cannot draw any conclusion from it. Data mining tools help understand the patterns and trends in data from multiple sources to correlate them and generate insights.
Multidimensional data is a complex thing to analyze, fortunately, OLAP tools help in that aspect.
What Does Data Warehouse Allow Dental DSO Organizations to Achieve?
Since we are talking about data warehouses and their role in the dental industry, let’s have a look at their benefits of it.
- Integration of multiple PMS and a centralized view of all the data.
- An effective result for your dental practice or DSO with increased business intelligence.
- A standard data model for multiple PMS.
- PMS agnostic
- The data from various sources follow conformity making it easier to understand for analytics.
- You get operational reports, data trends, and other insights to make the best decisions for your DSO/dental practice based on accurate data.
- Data is secure and accessible by authorized users to follow HIPAA compliance.
- Increased efficiency for your business as you don’t have to work on the data management part.
With so much data, there’s always going to be a need for a good dental DSO data warehouse. BPK Tech offers data warehouse solutions to DSOs, dental practices, and any business, to help them with centralizing their data. Our services are the best on the market, and something that no other organization offers. Check out BPK Tech Data Warehouse services and give us a call and take things further.