Data flow diagrams Essay Example
Data flow diagrams Essay Example

Data flow diagrams Essay Example

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  • Pages: 5 (1186 words)
  • Published: August 5, 2016
  • Type: Essay
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The data flow diagram is a widely used tool for modeling systems, especially for operational systems with complex functions that go beyond just manipulating data. Initially, DFDs were utilized in software engineering to study systems design issues. Early structured design books and articles by Stevens, Myers, and Constantine (1974), Yourdon and Constantine (1975), Myers (1975), among others, introduced DFDs as a notation. This notation was actually borrowed from earlier papers on graph theory and has since been adopted by software engineers to directly implement models based on user requirements (Yourdon, 1988).


The Data Flow Diagram (DFD) method is a widely used element of object-oriented analysis with several advantages, including (Le Vie, 2000):

DFDs simplify the process of coding projects, making it fast and easy.
These diagrams use simple symbols that are easy to understand once a specific model is chosen.
The synta


x for DFDs is straightforward, using English nouns or noun-adjective-verb structures.
This makes them useful for functional decomposition.

The Disadvantages

Designing DFDs for extensive systems can be a demanding and time-consuming endeavor. Furthermore, interpreting them can become burdensome due to the potential confusion in data flow among programmers. To ensure their usefulness, it is crucial to include the appropriate level of detail when employing DFDs. Moreover, various DFD models employ distinct symbols such as circles and rectangles to represent entities. Lastly, discerning between data and control signals can pose challenges.

Currently, there are various applications within the health care system.

Data Flow Diagrams are crucial in identifying and preventing issues associated with healthcare products and processes. These include tasks like prescribing medication and administering chemotherapy (specifically vincristine)

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to pediatric oncology patients in hospital settings.

An illustration:

The Healthcare Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (HFMEA) was developed by the VHA, in collaboration with the director of risk assessment and loss prevention at Tenet HealthSystem, as a systematic approach to identify and prevent product and process problems before they occur.

There are five essential steps in conducting an HFMEA analysis:

To initiate the HFMEA, it is important to have a clear definition of the process that will be studied. The team responsible for the HFMEA should consist of multidisciplinary personnel, including subject matter experts and an adviser. In order to visually represent the process, a flow diagram should be developed which includes numbering each step of the process, identifying the specific area of focus within the process, highlighting any sub-processes involved, and creating a separate flow diagram for these sub-processes. After this graphical representation is complete, a failure analysis needs to be conducted. This involves compiling a list of all potential failure modes associated with key sub-processes and assessing their severity and probability. A Decision Tree can then be used to determine if further action is necessary for each failure mode. Finally, all failure mode causes where it has been decided to proceed should be listed.

Discuss ways to assess actions and results. Decide whether you want to remove, manage, or embrace each cause of failure; define a plan of action for each failure cause to be controlled or eliminated; establish measures to evaluate the revised process; assign someone in charge of implementing the action; indicate whether senior management agrees with the proposed plan (van Tilberg, 2005).

The Michigan Department

of Community Health is starting a project called Implementation of a Statewide Information System for Sickle Cell Disease in Michigan, led by Corinne Miller, MD as the Principal Investigator.


The project aims to create a state-wide information system. This system will assist in supporting and evaluating a seamless system for detecting, managing, and treating sickle cell disease and its complications.

In the first year, the project advisory committee will be met, a change management specialist will be hired, detailed flow charts of data flows will be verified for each partner, necessary hardware will be purchased, and software programming will be done. The directors of the partner organizations will specify follow-up protocols for sickle cell disease to be integrated into the DocSite program. A survey will assess the interest and willingness of physicians to use the DocSite program. In the second year, pilot testing of the DocSite software will commence among the partner organizations.

MDCH staff will modify the program, develop user manuals, and disseminate information about the information system to other programs and physicians. This will be done through internal meetings with Children with Special Health Care Services and professional meetings in Michigan. Additionally, a state-wide conference will be planned for physicians and relevant social service program personnel to demonstrate the information system and provide training in its use. MDCH staff will be available for training.

The implementation period will involve continuous quality assurance, data monitoring using data flow diagrams, and program evaluation upon request by individual physicians or other program personnel. Additionally, specific clinical measures, including time to prophylactic antibiotic, will be collected and compared to baseline measures. Surveys of

families will also be conducted periodically.

A demonstration:

The Health Care Management Information System has been created by authors Krol M. and Reich D. L. as an object-oriented analysis and design.

The health care system has implemented a comprehensive object-oriented model that follows the HL7 version 3.0 standard for communication messages. This model consists of three main components: the Object Model, the Dynamic Model, and the Functional Diagram. The Object Model defines the hierarchical structure and characteristics of objects in the system. The Dynamic Model uses state diagrams to show the sequence of operations over time. Lastly, the Functional Diagram utilizes data flow diagrams to illustrate how data is transformed within the system.

These models cover various elements such as object classes, associations, attributes, operators, states, and behavioral scenarios for participants in health care and their subclasses. Additionally, important processes and sub-processes have been established.

Data Flow Diagrams can be used to develop scenarios for efficiently managing disease outbreaks.

Here is an example.

The text states that smallpox is a highly complex disease and that flow design is divided into pre-event and post-event scenarios, such as a mass vaccination campaign. It mentions that DFDs (data flow diagrams) will be used to help the patient flow into different stations, with symptomatic patients receiving immediate treatment (Hupert, 2004).

Flow diagrams serve as a helpful tool for trialists when documenting trial results and also help readers evaluate the trial's internal and external validity.

Here's an example:

The analysis of flow diagrams determined the results for eligibility in trials. Out of the sixty-five diagrams, 46.8% included information on the number of patients assessed

for eligibility, while 67.6% reported the number of patients found to be eligible. Additionally, 92.8% of the diagrams provided details on the assigned number for each study group, and 52.5% indicated whether interventions were received as allocated. The majority (82.0%) of flow diagrams displayed how many patients in each group were lost to follow-up, but only 23.0% mentioned the number included in the analysis (Egger, 2001).

The conclusion is that...

The utilization of Data Flow diagrams in randomized controlled trials results in enhanced reporting quality and improved information flow efficiency. Nevertheless, the current structure of flow diagrams is not optimal (see drawbacks). Further research is needed to develop DFDs that will effectively complement the Health Care Industry.

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