Many individuals that don't work heavily in the IT realm may not understand some of the specifics or benefits when talking about a late-binding process, especially compared to early-binding techniques. It is also very easy to be overwhelmed with terminology and lingo that is both unfamiliar and overwhelming, however this doesn't have to be the case.
Late-binding is defined as a dynamic runtime process of looking up a declaration for information, by utilizing the name that corresponds to a uniquely specified type. I can almost see your eyes have glazed over at this point, but let's break this down to more bit-sized pieces that can be understood. Runtime processes are referring to when a computer is asked to complete a task, whether this might be looking up information, pulling data out, or performing any other task that might be asked.
A computer is nothing more than the sum of its parts, and it has to be told what to do. The looking-up of information from a declaration is instructing the computer to go to a certain file, folder or location to look up specific information. From this point, the computer is supposed to verify that the information being sought is what corresponds to action being demanded. This happens because data stored or being stored is given a unique name and location.
At this point, it may not seem like too much to comprehend, and it isn't. However, the amount of data, location of data, and what you want to glean from all that information can change your perspective of the task very quickly. For those that remember having to look up library books and materials in a card catalog may understand this a bit better: the more information that a library held, the more cards that were filed. It may have been very simple if you knew the exact name and spelling of the author and/or title of the book, plus recognizing that there were a few nuances to the filing system. Authors were listed last name first, and titles that started with "The" were not listed under the T's, but under the next word in the title. (As you see, even in real-life applications, there are already intricate details you must know.)
Following the card catalog example, you also had to know where the different sections of the library were located, because not everything was simply organized by given number. Children's books were in a completely different section from the non-fiction books, or the periodicals. Well, when data is stored for later retrieval in a computer system, it must also be organized very carefully to enable new data being added to be directed to the right location.
Data is stored for particular reasons, otherwise it is just occupying space and costing money to house it. Many businesses, industries and trades rely heavily upon analytical information that is gathered from all of the downloaded data. Analytics runs by pulling out specified data categories, comparing them and producing a report or picture, which shows what is going on in the company. This is where the late-binding technique applies; data is cleansed, normalized and aggregated in order to produce visible results. The difference between combining or binding data gathered from many different locations together early in the command process as compared to later is that the early binding in much more rigid and defined a process. Late-binding allows for more flexibility to variations within the stored information and combines it all together nearly at the end of the command process.
Although this characteristic may not seem all that substantial, in the healthcare industry it is very significant, and has proven to be more effective in managing such a vast variety and amount of data. A majority of other industries do not deal with nearly as many nuances as healthcare does with medical records that contain clinical data, history of treatments, family history, basic statistics, financial and insurance documentation, with the added pressure that all information is to be secure and private.
What this ultimately translates into is better care at a lower cost. Late-binding helps organizations to more effectively see what is happening, such as inefficiencies or waste that might be present, and to then remove these unwanted processes, which eliminates overages to clinical care costs.
Hopefully, diving a little deeper into the IT-realm hasn't turned you off from learning more, especially about something as important as late-binding and the latitude to providing a better healthcare experience for one and all.
Server image courtesy of flickr.com/TomRaftery
Doctors image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/photostock