What is Voozanoo?

A 100% web secure and open source information system construction platform to rapidly create questionnaires, investigations, surveillance applications and other health information systems. EpiConcept uses Voozanoo as its internal tool to create all of its customers' information systems. As an application server, Voozanoo is a platform certified by the ministry of health for hosting applications containing personal health data. EpiConcept first started using this tool in 2002 to create customised information systems and has been continually updating it. In 2009, EpiConcept made it available to use free of charge for health professionals.

What can I do with the Voozanoo standard configuration?

Voozanoo is available for free use by health professionals. You can create a free Voozanoo 3 account here. If you are not afraid to get a little bit technical (does not require any writing of code but does require a certain level of technical competence), you can create your own web relational database. What this means concretely is that you can create an information system with various input forms for various groups of users, set their roles and rights, and create data outputs in the form of lists or graphics with adjustable filters or export the information as a file to be used with analytical software such as Stata, Saas, R or Excel. For simple single-table database construction for non-technical individuals, see Wepi.

EpiConcept develops other functionalities

Although many of the information systems that EpiConcept has developed share similar structures and sometimes workflow, there are often unique real-world situations or constraints that require a specific functionality to be created. The Voozanoo architecture was originally conceived to allow such developments in a straight-forward manner without impacting other part of the system. Sometimes these functionalities are generalised to the standard Voozanoo application for the benefit of the user community. See more about how we work with our clients at the tab Services.


Information system creation

Natively, without any extra programming, Voozanoo has the required functions to make a broad range of information system types. Shown below is a list and explanations of the subsystems within Voozanoo. The graphic for each represents the part (dark) which is ready to be used. The light colored part of the graphic represents use cases that need to be covered through specific developement by Epiconcept or through accompanyment/training.


does some of the job                  Does all of the job

 

Database creation

The tables, the variables, pages for the variables and the 1-n relationships are the basic and most valuable job of Voozanoo. Importing of variables and dictionary tables from external CSV files is possible as well as translating the user's interface of the Voozanoo front-end itself.

Multilingualism

Voozanoo is based on UTF-8 character encoding. The tool used for translations in a multilingual project is Poedit (www.poedit.net). The end user’s interface (front end) has been translated to English, French and Spanish but anyone can use Poedit to create other language interfaces. PoEdit is used as well to translate the actual texts of the input forms. User's are assigned a language by the accounts administrator.

Workflow

If you merely need to create forms and tables without complex dependancies, Voozanoo will do what you need. If you have a work flow that has stipulations about stages of completion by different entities, milestones, and validation points that trigger other processes then this will need to be programmed specifically, and typically, programmed with an administrator's access to a fixed set of parameters to control it.

Double data entry

A full double-data entry system for reduction of entry errors (typically from paper based forms) is available with reporting on non-matching entries. There are two roles, that of the entry personel and that of the manager.

Security policies for information systems (PSSI)

Because the Voozanoo application and platform is certified by the ministry of health to legally hold personal health information, the necessary functions to administer this is a part of Voozanoo. This system must include the possibility for and the logging of requests to; allow the patient to determine who he/she does or does not want to have access to his/her information; allow the patient to consult his/her information by requests through email, traditional mail or face-to-face; Allow a patient to modify his/her data upon request; Allow the patient to get a history of who has accessed his/her information over any given period of time.

Isolated Data Goups

When it is necessary to isolate data, often a practical and logical method is done through a hierarchical system. That is, the people on the top of the pyramid can access the data in the groups below it. An individual can only access his own group and the groups below his own, not those at the same level, and not at levels above his own. This can be set up as National, regional, local levels or any method of hierarchy that needs to guaranty the isolation of various group's data. Of course, the role (data entry clerk, administrator, physician, patient) of the individual at any level within the hierarchy plays an even more important role in what type of access he/she has.

Roles

An individual logged into the information system can be assigned one or multiple roles (data clerk, doctor, medical assistant, administration, etc.) which allows his/her access to viewing only certain data or entering data in certain forms.

Secure Login

Login by default is over an SSL connection with a user name and password. The national CPS smartcard system for doctors and health organisations which includes an on-chip SSL certificate can also be used for identification. An option for a rigorous level of passwords is also available for the administrator to check.

Notification management

The notification system is basic. It allows for notices to either be displayed when a user logs in, or will be sent by email. The targeted users can be selected according to their role or according their level in the hierarchical data groups.

Reporting and Statistics

There are simple statistics (frequencies, min/max, means, pivot tables, etc.) or advanced statistics with reporting using the powerful R language. Data can of course be exported for use in other statistical software (Stata, Sas, etc.)

SQL Queries

Accessing the data is at the heart of any information system. There are places within Voozanoo where a free text field is made available for the user to write his own specific SQL statements when the standard options in Voozanoo are not sufficient.

Visual formating

The visual formatting is done through an interface which allows question types to be arranged on a form, for exemple to group variables, make grids or place text. Each of these elements have their various display options. The page displays can be tailored specifically to an exact level using SMARTY technology implemented by a programmer. When based on the Zend framework, applications have access to Bootstrap, a system which allows “responsive design” presentation of web pages based on the terminal type; Desktop computer, tablet or telephone.

Data filtering

Data filters are created and saved, and can be shared with other users. Any combination of variables (static or dynamic values) can be used for filtering with and/or/not conditions. It also includes options for "contains", "starts with" and "data missing".

Data exports

Once the variables are selected and filtered the data can be exported in latin or UTF-8 character sets in various formats (STATA, XML, SAS, CSV and EpiInfo).

Mailmerge

When a set of data must go into a finished  format, mailmerge can make PDF documents of one or a thousand pages showing data values and accompanying texts or images on a cleanly formated document ready for e-mailing, printing or transfer via its web service.

File transfer

When needed, a Voozanoo information system can receive files dropped off into a secure Internet "box" from a human or another application which then get added to its database.

Task management

Working with multiple applications, the task manager can coordinate actions such as datafile transfers between applications.


Data entry

Data entry via a web browser is by far the most prominent means of entering form information into a database. This is the basis of Voozanoo; one database with entry and retreival from any Internet-connected computer. This however begs the question of what to do when the computer is NOT connected to the Internet. There are still environments and locations that are not connected and will not soon be either. For example, we have developped off-line solutions that work on tablets that operate in no-wifi zones (often found in the medical care sector). The Voozanoo-based application Wepi (see the Modules tab) has integrated support for the popular off-line data collection application for tablets and telephones called ODK Collect.  Further, the keyboard is not the only means to enter information. We have developped applications that use OCR technology, digital pen, GPS, and dragging and dropping icons onto a diagram of the human thorax. All of these are methods to collect data without having to touch a keyboard.


Data Analysis

The goal of collecting and organising data is to be able to analyse it and make decisions about actions to be taken. There are a number of analytic tools on the market which have become popular for various disciplines. Voozanoo uses an analysis module based on the R programming language. This increasingly popular open source application and language has become a formidable tool in comparison to proprietary tools and is used in practically all disciplines needing information analysis.