Information Systems for Experimental Social Programs -- A Health Services Example

By John R. Moore, Jr.John C. Hershey
1974| Working Paper No. 185

The organizational forms and data requirements of experimental social programs contribute to the necessity for the development of new general purpose file management and data processing systems. The organizational aspects of social research dictate that information systems be capable of performing both periodic reporting and special analytic tasks while remaining flexible enough to change as the experimental program develops. Restrictions imposed by the nature of social services data require a hierarchically organized data base and a variable length list structure. This paper describes the Hierarchal Information Processor (HIP) constructed and used by an experimental health services program. HIP is a PL/1 based macro-compiler programming language that allows a user to access a hierarchically structured data base to prepare either reports or special files for input to statistical packages. Segments of HIP include: (1) a data base accessing code or dictionary, (2) an extractor program, (3) a table creation program, and (4) a report generation program. Syntax and a sample program are included.