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Managing Data Using ColdFusion. Calvin Lai Nov. 29, 2006. It all started with CHASE. In 2002, VCH contracted CFE to evaluate the impact of four new facilities: HCC, LSC, DCHC, PCHC setup by VCH as part of the Vancouver Agreement among three levels of government.

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Managing data using coldfusion
Managing Data Using ColdFusion

Calvin Lai

Nov. 29, 2006

It all started with chase
It all started with CHASE

  • In 2002, VCH contracted CFE to evaluate the impact of four new facilities: HCC, LSC, DCHC, PCHC setup by VCH as part of the Vancouver Agreement among three levels of government.

  • CHASE (Community Health And Safety Evaluation) was established and led by Dr. Mark Tyndall.

  • Three areas of primary interest:

  • Communicable diseases incidence and prevalence rates including HIV, Hepatitis A, B & C, tuberculosis, syphilis, and influenza.

  • Primary health care including the health status of DTES residents and the proportion of residents receiving primary health care.

  • Access and movement within the health care system with a focus on primary health care, hospital care, alcohol and drug counselling, sobering centres, detox, and long-term drug treatment.

Data components
DATA Components

  • Two main data components to this evaluation:

  • DTES Community Statistics such as VPD crime stats, Unemployment rates, Unemployment insurance, vital statistics.

  • Enroll 3-4 thousands DTES residents via a simple survey; ask for consent to link to other external health linkages such as PARIS, BCCDC, DTP and SPH ER.

  • One major advantage of data from linkages is these are hard data not self-reported ones.

  • Another advantage is getting prospective data with less $$ by skipping followups.


  • Small budget, needs to control cost very effectively.

  • 4 full time personnel: admin manager, database manager and two research assistants.

  • Admin manager and two RA worked in remote office at PCHC (supported by VCH) and database manager at SPH.

  • Admin manager in charge of recruiting CHASE cohort, setup peer group who helped recruitment, writing reports and data entry.

  • Peer support is an important piece as it involved the community to help out in the project.

  • Database manager responsible for setting database, running stats analyses, setup website, provide systems and network support in the remote office and writing reports.

  • Need to pay VPD, BC Stats, Vital Stats for statistics requested for three year span 2002-2004

  • Need to pay $10 incentive for each participant.

How to keep cost down
How to keep cost down?

  • Hired minimum personnel – everyone had to multi-task.

  • Used community peers.

  • Monitored duplicates & triplicates closely since we paid $10 incentive:

  • Required participants to show ID (photo ID, if possible).

  • For checking, needed an updated recruited list at least daily

  • I came up with the CF solution:

  • Needed NO extra HW (hence no extra $$) on my PC

  • PC already running W2K-PRO which came with IIS Internet Information Server (windows web server).

  • I just needed to install a free CF version the company distributed 6 years ago to get users hooked.

  • Once setup, the staff in remote office can get the recruited list real time.

Security issues
Security issues

  • Security is a huge issue as it involved confidential info.

  • Employed three layers of security:

  • ID/PW protection on the website

  • IP-restriction

  • Special web port assignment eg.

Chase and after
CHASE and after

  • This technology is so cost effective that it is deployed in subsequent cohorts: SEOSI, ARYS, MAKA, ACCESS and VIDUS2 :

    Cohort Period N Full Cohort Name

  • CHASE 2002- 3500 Community Health And Safety Evaluation

  • SEOSI 2003- 1000 Scientific Evaluation of Supervised Injecting

  • MAKA 2004- 250 Not an acronym, First Nations' languages for all women and/or healing women

  • ARYS 2005- 500 At Risk Youth Study

  • ACCESS 2005- 500 AIDS Care Cohort to Evaluate Exposure to Survival Services

  • VIDUS2 2005- 1000 Vancouver Injection Drug User Study

What is coldfusion
What is ColdFusion?

  • Popular web application server that generates dynamic database driven web pages.

  • Middleware that communicates with the database, processes data and then display the results on the web.

  • Based on an scripting language called ColdFusion Markup Language which compares to JSP or PHP and resembles HTML in syntax

  • CF web pages always has file extension .cfm simliar to .html in HTML web pages.

What so good about coldfusion
What so good about ColdFusion?

  • Based on HTML codes and extended to include SQL for handling databases.

  • Communicates to all popular databases such as Oracle, MYSQL, Windows SQL, MSAccess and even Excel via ODBC driver or specialized drivers.

  • Coding in CF is very efficient – compared to say windows ASP.

  • Rapid Development.

  • Fast Speed for web display.

  • Drill down feature.

  • Copy/Paste data on web into Excel directly.

Some cf examples
Some CF examples:


  • One click on variable link sort the data by that variable, eg. Sorting by FU1 date will indicate who are due for FU2.

  • Drill-down feature: if you click on one specific ID, it will automatically print out all the detailed info about this particular – useful for staff to track down participants for followups.

  • Retrieve data into excel by simple copy/paste.

History of cf
History of CF:

  • 1995 Allaire started ColdFusion

  • 2001 Macromedia bought out CF

  • 2005 Adobe bought out Macromedia including CF

  • 2005 10th Anniversary

  • Some CF websites:




Cf version and
CF version and $$

  • CF Enterprise Version: US$5,999

  • CF Standard US$1,299

  • CF Developer Version – FREE everything runs on one PC

  • Free and fully functional version of ColdFusion for local development of applications that will be deployed on either Standard or Enterprise servers.

  • In addition to localhost, access to applications is now possible from two client machines, making team development even easier.