A research update

It's been a while since my last post here, mainly because I haven't been working on anything overly complicated. Since June, I've been working mostly on a dashboard and paper writing/editing (including the European Healthcare Design Conference), so there hasn't been much interesting to write.

Today though I've had a little switch back into some C# and Excel working. I want to obtain NHS Emergency Department (A&E) admissions figures from 2010 to 2015 for one specific Trust as part of my research. The data set is available online here. Downloading the data files is easy enough, they come as Excel sheets with the number of admissions for any given week between 2010 and 2015, but as I only want the data for one specific Trust, I don't want to have to go through all the files (243 of them) and extract that data manually. This is what we have computers for!

Now I know someone will argue that the time taken to write a script in C# to extract the data is no quicker than extracting the data manually and, for the most part, they may well be correct. However, the enjoyment spent in writing a script to extract the data far outweighs the enjoyment of extracting the data manually. Plus, if more data sets become available in the future that I want to extract data from, I'll already have a script to do so. Of course this falls into the pitfall best described by this xkcd comic but that's beside the point. This afternoons enjoyment comes from coding, not from manual extraction!

Hence my earlier post on extracting values from cells in Excel using C#, as I've been coding away to sort, rename and then extract data from 243 files of NHS Emergency Department admissions data. Other than that, I've been moved off active project developments and onto more research based topics, in preparation for the completion of my EngD in ~18 months time. So posts on here may be few and far between on the coding front, but I'll continue to try and post helpful tidbits where I find them.

Despite some bumps in the road though, I'm on target to complete my research in time. Following a supervisor meeting in August, a road map to completion has been outlined and agreed upon by the supervisors which leaves me starting to write-up a chapter of my final thesis, while polishing off the next paper on the wayfinding work completed last year.

Meanwhile I'm not completely out of the coding game - I still do my scripting where I want to automate tasks and I still help others on their stuff. So if you have any interesting problems to solve in Grasshopper or another format then do feel free to get in touch. Meanwhile, that data isn't going to finish extracting itself...

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