WHY COLLECT DATA?
Implicit in data processing is that some benefit be derived from the effort. Having
the relevant information should enable an organization to function better. The cost of
collecting, processing, and storing data, therefore, should not exceed the benefits of
having this information available for later use. The information might serve to reduce
expenses. A high X-ray repeat rate for a particular technician, for example, would serve
as a useful management indicator, signaling the need for additional training.
Information can provide intangible benefits, perhaps insights into reasons for low morale
within a clinic. A report showing more than average time needed to complete X-rays
could signal procedural problems that are undermining employee morale.
Section II. TELEPROCESSING SYSTEMS
With each evolution of the computer, the response time needed to collect,
manipulate, communicate, store, and retrieve data has shortened. Quick response time
is an important consideration, as the usefulness of information is time-dependent.
Responsive systems increasingly use some form of remote (distant) input and output
devices in direct communication with the computer. This allows users to react more
quickly to changing conditions, reduces the waste of time and resources, and promotes
quick follow-up. This section touches on the types of programs needed to support more
responsive systems: operating systems and application programs. It covers the various
ways that data are processed: batch, on-line, and real time processing. It presents the
concepts of local and remote systems, computer networks or distributed data
processing, and time-sharing services. It deals with teleprocessing, the combined use
of data processing equipment and telephone lines.
3-10. SYSTEM PROGRAMS AND APPLICATION PROGRAMS
As stated earlier, the step-by-step instructions needed for a computer to reach
the solution to a problem are provided in the program. There are two basic types of
programs used by a computer. Operating system programs coordinate the operation of
computer circuity. Application programs solve particular problems.
application program: a sequence of instructions written to solve a specific
3-11. OPERATING SYSTEMS
In first- and many second-generation computers, human operators monitored
computer operations, determined the order programs were run, and prepared input and
output devices for operation. Although early electronic development increased the
processing speeds of CPUs, the speed of human operators remained constant. Time
delays and errors caused by human operator intervention became a serious problem.