This is Vivek. Professionally, I am a public health specialist involved with Community Ophthalmology work at RP Centre, AIIMS, New Delhi. I also have prior work in domains of non-communicable diseases, influenza, operational research and tuberculosis. Technology has always fascinated me. I remember the days from my childhood when I had taken apart calculators, and audio-systems and stared at the back of TVs wondering how the CRTs were working. Interest in health sciences made me forego all interests and I joined MBBS in summer of 96. Seeing how it was more and more about disease management, and less and less about health, I joined MD in Community Medicine from the prestigious AIIMS, New Delhi in 2002. This got me into data, data management, analytics, automated reporting etc.
Initial couple of years, it was all about getting data in using Epi-Info 2002 or Access and analyzing the same using SPSS. When I had to redo the analysis, I realized the value of syntax files. But boy, did I find the syntax of SPSS messy and difficult. I had to leave the comfort of SPSS for my thesis data analysis that involved survey statistics for which routines were not available in the version we had access to in the institute. That was my first interaction with Stata (version 7). The simplicity of the commands won me over and I have been an ardent fan ever since.
I have come to appreciate the need for capturing clean data along the way. The initial tools of the trade was EpiInfo. I did some extensive menu-programming with Epi-Info 2002 for launching individual forms or data exports, and a button based copy-paste functionality between two-disparate epi-info data bases for the influenza laboratory database! I did also dabble with EpiData for a while for field FARI surveillance but it did not really work out. With CDC, we organized an EpiInfo workshop at AIIMS and subsequently I conducted Epi-Info7 trainings in the Research Methodology Workshops during my days at NIMHANS. I also setup the ODKAggregate Server at NIMHANS and organized one ODK training there. Working with the fantastic CAM-NIMHANS team, I setup the eLearning environment of the Virtual Learning Centre / VKN / Project ECHO NIMHANS. VB and Prabhat sir, you rock ! Kudos for taking the VKN to such great heights! At the same time, we kicked off the NMHS pilot survey in Kolar, with all data collected in little handheld tablets that were actually running Windows 8 with Apache-MySQL-PHP stack and no central data sync. Interesting challenge it was to understand the DB structures, write custom MySQL views, pull data for of each form directly into Stata via ODBC, do the data management (merges, reshapes, recodes, cleaning) and generate the reports with data going to excel files (putexcel)! Work with The Union made me appreciate the value to EpiData and I feel that it has to be the go-to tool right now, due to its simplicity, elegance and speed.
That all brings me to here and now. I guess somewhere along the line, I have become a proper techno-geek ! For long have I thought of a platform of sharing my experiences with fellow-nerds. Finally, am taking the plunge. Wish me luck ! By the way, there is going to be more than just data analysis on this blog but bulk will the that only…