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SQL Server database

Primary Keys in Data Repository

Knowing which tables to use is one of the biggest challenges when writing DR reports. Understanding those tables, and the relationships between them is part of that challenge. Primary keys are a critical part of any database, but especially so in the DR, since they are the only definition we have for how to correctly and quickly get information.

SQL Server database

When to Build a Data Mart

As report writers and analysts, we sometimes have to ask: how do I go about optimizing data retrieval from the MEDITECH Data Repository? When is it appropriate to construct a data mart and what should I consider?  Before we explore the answer, let's first, define a few terms (thanks to Technopedia and Wikipedia):

SQL Server database

Management Studio Shortcuts

Whether you’re GPSing around traffic, going through a drive-thru, or using ALT+TAB to switch between open windows, life demands shortcuts. You know the adage – work smarter, not harder. Working with SQL Server is no different - if you’re a busy developer or DBA, you likely spend part of your day writing TSQL code in Management Studio. Fortunately, Microsoft has built in features we can use to make our jobs a bit easier. Here are a few recommended shortcuts and other tips to help save you time and keystrokes.

SQL Server database

Where's the Data?

As an experienced Data Repository report writer, it’s easy to take for granted how much knowledge someone may have about MEDITECH, or assume that hospital IT staff simply know certain things. This was glaringly apparent to me when teaching an introductory DR report writing class recently. Having taught the class for 8+ years, I was presented with a novel situation: the hospital was a brand-new MEDITECH 6.1 client, having switched from another system entirely. 

SQL Server database

Accessing Data Across SQL Servers

Not only is it possible to access DR data across SQL servers, but it’s also possible to combine data from different sources in the same query. If there is such a thing as the holy grail of DR reporting, this may be it. Not only is it possible to access data across SQL servers, but it’s also possible to combine data from different sources in the same query. Normally this is straightforward, but the DR adds an extra challenge because of an atypical server-wide setting: the server collation.

SQL Server database

Clean TSQL Formatting

When we first learn to program in any language, our primary concern is usually learning how to get the thing to work. We care very little about how it looks, adding descriptive comments, or how to use proper spacing between your statements. As I was learning T-SQL and other programming languages, one of the things I never appreciated enough was the importance of clean syntax. How your code is physically laid out on the page is almost always an afterthought.  But it’s one of those small things that turns a good programmer into a great one!