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Benefits of DPS for Data Publishers and Excel Users

Chief Technical Officer, Freedman HealthCare, LLC

Adam has over 30 years of experience in software development and database management. His principal focus at Freedman HealthCare is migrating our analytical infrastructure to the cloud to take advantage of big data technologies.

The last few posts on DPS should have given you a good idea of what the tool looks like, and how it is run within Excel. It‘s time to take a moment to review how these features benefit the organizations using the DPS app to share data and their audiences, the individuals using the tool to consume data.

Let’s first clarify the two groups of people involved with a DPS system: publishers and Excel users. Data publishers are typically organizations that need to make healthcare data available to various audiences, such as in-house analysts or the public. They start a new DPS installation by loading the data they want to display into an online database controlled by DPS software. Then, they fill in configuration details about who should have access and limits on what data is made visible. Freedman HealthCare is the only data publisher using DPS at this time, but we will soon start a program to help other publishers in the healthcare field use the system. Watch this space for news on that front.

Excel users who download the DPS app as an Excel workbook are the other group. All they have to do is click on a link, and a copy of the DPS app is delivered to their computer. They would simply open the custom DPS menu to load and navigate through any data made available by the publisher.

Benefits for Excel users:

  • No training is required, other than knowledge of Excel
  • No complicated database connection settings are required, the data is listed in a menu
  • The Excel DPS app is free for end-users who already have Excel
  • No additional software to install
  • New data sets from the publisher are automatically made available within the app
  • Memory limitations of Excel are not an issue, data sets with millions of rows can be read page by page
  • Automatic link from Excel back to a web page description of the data

These benefits can be summed up as a dramatic increase in ease of use compared to other database and business intelligence tools without the cost.

Benefits for data publishers:

  • Publishers can “push” content to users by making new data sets available in the database.  Then, this new data will automatically appear in the Excel app’s Open Data menu.
  • Data sets are kept in a central database, rather than spread across many locations
  • The DPS system can be run on an Amazon cloud account or within a publisher’s data center
  • Central data storage simplifies updates for new data
  • Increased database security, since users do not have to be given an account on a central database
  • Increased control over database utilization, by only allowing users to only run queries allowed by DPS

The common theme for data publishers is a great deal of control over who uses your data and what they can do with it, which are always goals for anyone managing a large, centralized database.

Adam Green is Freedman HealthCare’s Chief Technical Officer. He can be reached at agreen@freedmanhealthcare.com

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