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 Analytics is the discovery and communication of meaningful patterns in data… Analytics may be applied to business data to describe, predict and improve business performance. The insights from data are used to recommend action or to guide decision making.

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Wikipedia, Analytics, 2014, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analytics.

Most analytical processes are driven by database queries. A 'query' is a means for retrieving information from a database consisting of a machine readable question presented to the database in a predefined format. Queries are used to inform or contribute to a human-readable report or produce a machine-actionable response. A human-readable report may be a list of patients, a graph, historical or projected resource utilization figures, or a summary dashboard display. Machine-actionable responses may include populating an order for a new laboratory test, based on the results of a previous test, or placing an order to restock medical devices on a hospital ward.

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