Odd Data Request

Data collection is a specialty in the digital era. It is my job. Not everyone knows what it entails. They think it is someone going door to door conducting research for the census bureau. It could be that. Or they think it is about psychologists collecting test results on behavior. When I took Psych 1 in college, this is what we did. We queried students in person and amassed the “data.” We entered it by hand into a computer. My grandmother tells me she kept a log since there was no laptop then. Now that was a primitive definitive of the term.

Data collection can be studying and recording information of just about anything. For example, I can gather data regarding shopping habits and browsing preferences for a giant retail complex. I can also do data collection for medical associations and record it in electronic patient medical records.

I gather the data, analyze it, and put it to use. Sometimes you have to read between the lines so to speak. What is interesting to me is how you can control the flow of data and what is done with the information. There are endless possibilities and it has changed the face of many industries. For example, do you remember the manila folder that was in actuality a medical chart? They don’t look like that anymore. They are paperless which has helped save the trees in our depleting forests. The doctor sits in the checkup room and takes notes with his tablet, which he no doubt would use to check Facebook in his down time. No more issues with nurses unable to read the handwriting. Those days are long gone.

Because I work for a group of medical professionals, I was contacted to do data collection on the cleaning procedures in their offices. We know that they have to meet certain standards, unlike normal businesses, because of the use of dangerous chemicals and implements like scalpels and hypodermic needles. There are germs virtually everywhere, almost as bad as most hospitals. This is despite every effort to scour the counters and floors. If there are carpets in the waiting room, they demand a thorough vacuuming. I had to provide information on what is better – Shark or Dyson. You have to evaluate not just preferences for a brand based on reputation, but on actual usage by hundreds of cleaning crews working in the medical environment. I must be careful to keep this difference straight.

Apart from the procedures at the medical network, I started thinking about the cleanliness of my own place. What, indeed, is lurking in the rugs? Is my vacuum doing its job? Perhaps after my research and I find out the best brand, I will get a home model for my personal use. Don’t be surprised if I tell you soon that I am the proud owner of a Dyson. This brand resonates with me. As you can see, I let my work influence my life. This is as it should be.