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Integration Efforts Involving Different Data Sources within One Organization

a. Kaiser Permanente: Integrating Legacy Systems (Robertson, 1997)


Kaiser Permanente, a health care service provider, used three related technologies (dynamic OOP, domain-specific embedded languages, and reflection) in one project integrating their legacy systems. Typically, a legacy system is an in-place structure that is neither optimal for modern needs nor modifiable for project purposes (Robertson, 1997). The data often does not reside in a single database or in a single format. More often, it is distributed across a number of different vendor databases, running on different platforms, with significant physical distances between the separate services. It is often needed to use a variety of data sources for report generation, management information system construction, or the creation of client-server or Intranet-based applications. The Kaiser Permanente legacy systems contain data such as membership, subscription information, pharmacy, drugs, appointments and encounters, and billing. The data come from a variety of sources including online connections to pharmacies, and data input forms completed in doctors' offices by doctors and patients. The accuracy of the data is critical for accurate billing, accurate payments to service providers including consultants, physicians, and pharmacies, and the establishment of appropriate member status for a patient.

There are many areas in which legacy data can be put to use, such as marketing, executive, government reporting, competitive analysis, and new access to data. Legacy data contains a wealth of information that can be used in promoting a company's products, in running a business efficiently, and in providing competitive services. There are many opportunities for using legacy data, but the pressure to take advantage of legacy data is extremely high (Robertson, 1997).