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samba-siteSAMBA is the Society for Acute Medicine’s annual benchmarking audit. Acute Medical Units all around the UK participate in a data-gathering exercise surveying performance on a particular day of the year. The data is compiled into reports allowing each Unit to benchmark how well they’re doing; and for Units to identify and share best-practice.

In 2016, SAMBA will be collecting data via an online data-entry website. The aim is to simplify the data-entry process through the use of standardised forms and field values; and reduce the time required to produce reports from the data.

The project was built in Drupal 7 with an Omega 5 responsive theme, allowing the site to be used on any device, from a smart phone to a desktop. The build required extensive coding to develop a custom module to handle the functionality required. Particular challenges were:

  • Providing some sort of look up mechanism to retrieve patient admission data without storing any patient identifiable information. This entailed building a custom record search using a one-way hash, encrypted using security best practice.
  • Devising a flexible storage method for each audit, as the data entry forms (and thus the stored content types) vary from audit to audit.
  • Building a custom data export function to export the data in the format and field order required.