Electronic Health Records are a hot topic at the moment. The US federal government has set aside $19 billion in an economic stimulus package to create an electronic health record for every American by 2014. The government is not only using incentives to encourage adoption; they are also using penalties. Between using the carrot and the stick, the US federal government is determined to bring this wave of technology into mass adoption in the healthcare industry.

Next week, I will join Robert Abate to deliver an ‘Espresso Webcast’ about the advantages of implementing standards-based infrastructure for Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and Electronic Medical Records (EMRs). We will also discuss the considerations you need to be aware of as you work with the infrastructure for electronic health systems. Espresso Webcasts are slightly shorter than typical Webcasts, lasting about 35 minutes or so.

The Webcast will be on Tuesday 01 September at 12pm ET. You can register at Electronic Health Records for Smarter Healthcare.

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I have previously covered how DB2 9.7 supports native XML data with hash partitioning (database partitioning), range partitioning (table partitioning), and multi-dimensional clustering. These new features make it feasible to analyze information in native XML format, side-by-side with relational data, in a data warehouse. And, of course, being able to work with native XML data in such scenarios offers many efficiencies and advantages.

In reality, many data warehouse projects involve pulling different types of information from disparate data sources around an organization. My colleagues have published the first in a series of two articles that provide step-by-step instructions for integrating information from such disparate sources into a data warehouse. The first of those articles is now available at IBM InfoSphere DataStage and DB2 pureXML, Part 1: Integrate XML operational data into a data warehouse.

This article tells you how to use IBM® InfoSphere™ DataStage to extract and transform XML data managed by DB2® pureXML®. It also explores how DataStage can load this data into a table with traditional SQL data types, and a table with both relational and XML columns. The article includes sample scripts and data that you can download.

The second part of this article series will explore another important scenario: using DataStage to read information from a flat file, convert the data into an XML format, and load this XML data into a data warehouse that contains a table with a DB2 pureXML column.

In the past, I discussed the DB2 pureXML Cookbook. This book is very valuable for all DB2 pureXML users, from novice through expert.

If you are interested in buying this book, please be aware that International DB2 User Group (IDUG) members get a 45% discount on IBM Press books. IDUG membership is free. For information about how to get the discount, visit the following Web page: http://www.idug.org/public-spotlights/45-book-discount.html

Also, as a special promotion, IDUG have a competition where they are giving away 3 copies of this book as prizes. For information about entering to win a free copy of the book, visit the following Web page: http://www.idug.org/public-spotlights/free-db2-book.html

If you are implementing a SOA environment, Solitaire has a very interesting finding for you. Solitaire authored a whitepaper where they analyze database operations at more than 4,100 production systems. As part of their analysis of database operations on IBM System p, they looked at the correlation between the success rate of SOA projects and the choice of database software.

To classify a SOA project as successful, they asked the organization if they now enjoy a 25% or more increase in resource utilization and a 30% or more increase in the speed of provisioning. Here is a chart that shows the relative success rates for SOA projects that involve IBM DB2 and Oracle Database. Solitaire do not say why DB2 does so much better. Perhaps DB2’s superior native XML storage is a factor?

Database Choice for Successful SOA Projects

You can read the full Solitaire Report at Whitepaper: DB2 Performance on IBM System p® and System x®.

Almost 24 million people in the US are diagnosed with diabetes. If you know someone with diabetes, you know about the hassles that constant monitoring imposes. MyCareTeam and IBM have collaborated to improve continuous monitoring in such situations, with a solution that both reduces costs and improves the quality of healthcare. I am particularly interested in this collaboration because it involves the use of XML data. IBM and MyCareTeam have written a great paper that covers a number of topics that will be of interest to those in the diabetes and healthcare technologies fields. For instance, there is information about the use of technologies like XML storage and Web services in the context of continuing care. There is also information about related initiatives such as the Continua Health Alliance’s role in selecting appropriate standards. You can read more at Healthcare in the Home: Continuing Care for Diabetes with Collaborative Technologies.