Help me create a bad-ass program for managing TB data
February 21, 2010 9:49 PM Subscribe
I'd like to take on a somewhat substantial software project that should a) be open-source and b) not suck. Suggestions on how to code for others requested.
posted by McBearclaw to computers & internet (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I work for a tuberculosis clinic. TB is a magnificently data-intensive disease, but the software we have to manage those data is not as good as it could be - although, despite being written by one heroic programmer, it is basically as good as any commercial demos I've seen. The problem is that none of these programs really address the workflow of a TB clinic - they tend to combine both data entry and data display into a form which corresponds to exactly one table. A few customized forms would really cut down on the time my colleagues spend on this stuff. Did I mention that everybody can edit everything?
I have magnificent visions of an open-source program for TB clinics. I'm essentially a programming novice, but I think that, with learning, the actual coding of much of this program would be within my grasp - the bulk of it would just be querying, displaying, and editing text. As a data analyst, I have a solid grasp on what I would want from such a system, and I have ready access to the opinions of the clinical workers. I'm not sure I really believe that I can make a viable product, but this is something that I really want to do, from which I would learn a lot, and that might ultimately make something good.
What I don't have is experience writing code that is digestible and extensible for others. I'd like for other clinics to be able to take this code and customize it to their computing ecology - maybe they need different forms, or need it to link to a different appointment scheduling or laboratory system.
My most extensive experience with a programming language is with R, which won't be of much help here. I am comfortable with SQL, and write most of my (small, simple) utilities in Python. I'm open to learning any language/framework that will help me get this done right.
Your input on any aspect of a project like this is greatly appreciated (even if it's just to say, "You're way out of your league, and here's why.") I will try to promptly answer any questions.