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A well-planned database provides the user with up to date and accurate information for the required purpose. Therefore, during the process of designing a database, one should gather and organize the categories of information required in the most conversant and efficient way (Stephens & Plew, 2001).
The information required to design a database is gathered by various means, the most important of which is interviewing the client who intends to use the database. This gives more information that will enable the database designer to know exactly what the purpose of the database is (Stephens & Plew, 2001). The next step will be gathering general information about the project through interviewing, directly or indirectly, every person involved in the project. Then all the information provided by these parties is to be recorded using video or audio means for a complete in-depth analysis of the purpose of the database (Stephens & Plew, 2001). Other information can be gathered from old databases that are being used or filing systems available in the place where the database is to be applied.
After gathering the information, it has to be categorized in a manner that will illustrate how the database is to be designed. The use of files, spreadsheets, tables, and many other materials that will enable the data to be understood easily and categorized correctly is required at this point (Stephens & Plew, 2001). One needs to list the items in a table with columns; it is also important to ask for some ideas from the client. This will help to make the database user-friendly.
When designing a relational database for a public health department, the purpose of the database has to be fully understood. This involves gathering all the information that needs to be classified by the database (Woolfolk). This information includes all inpatient and outpatient information, the number of available departments and their functions, how the departments interrelate, and the available system of communication between the departments. Any other information relevant to the functioning of the health unit must be tabulated, as it is vital in the creation of a perfect database (Woolfolk).
For an effective design of a public health database, tabulating all the information gathered is essential (Woolfolk). These involves the use of preliminary tables, identifying key departments, creation of tabulated departmental relationships, normalizing the tables, and, finally, reviewing the design to get rid of any anomalies (Woolfolk).