Cardiff University improves efficiency with database system

Cardiff University's Department of Pathology has installed a database system that has enabled them to easily store, extract and analyse complicated data.

Cardiff University's Department of Pathology has installed a database system that has enabled them to easily store, extract and analyse complicated data.

The department, which researches kidney cancer and renal transplants, previously recorded data on separate Excel sheets, which later needed to be collated for analysis.

The department's projects require the collection of data from different sources that then need to be analysed as a single dataset. Problems were caused because duplicate data was created, only one person could work on a document at a time, and analysis was not possible until all the data was collated.

David Griffiths said the new Filemaker system has improved the efficiency of the pathology department, which employs 50 people.

He said, "It has made projects that were previously very difficult because of time constraints much easier, because of the data handling capabilities."

Research staff can now download data from the Filemaker programme to a statistical programme, meaning they can produce analyses with real-time data.

"We can now collate data from disparate sources," said Griffiths. "It can be got up and running extremely quickly, so we can spend our time collecting the data rather than making the database."

Students contribute to the database via a web interface or a Filemaker client, and data can be saved over long-term five or ten year projects.

Griffiths said, "We can do things we would struggle to do otherwise. There are a couple of projects we do not have any specific funding for, so they are done in our spare time. We would not be able to do this unless we had an efficient system."

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