The cornerstone of the system—the "Tailoring Engine" Application—is designed to customize health information to the specific needs and interests of different individuals. "This tool allows us to draw upon user–specific data to select particular health messages for a magazine, a newsletter, or other publication," explains Eric, "thereby tailoring the content of that publication to the exact needs, interests, and circumstances of the person requesting it."
The HCRL team has developed tools and applications used by a wide range of academic institutions, health agencies, and non–profit groups nationwide. "For example, for one client we developed a series of children's storybooks based on information gathered through a health survey taken by parents and stored in FileMaker Pro," Eric continues. "Our tailoring engine was able to take this data and use it to generate individually customized books for each child in the program."
It's allowed us to consolidate all of our projects into single applications, with a learning curve that's much easier to master than what we were doing before. FileMaker Pro allows us to do complex tasks in a very easy way, saving us both time and money.
Another application uses FileMaker Pro powered interactive computer kiosks to reach underserved populations in community settings. "The kiosks resemble a video game," Eric says. "You use a touch–screen to answer a series of survey questions, and the tailoring engine uses your answers to create a short magazine geared towards your specific health concerns. The kiosk then prints out the publication and it comes out a slot in the front of the kiosk. It was all done in FileMaker Pro, all in one place."
"Some of our systems are running over 100 individual databases, with an estimated 100,000 records overall. It's growing all the time," Eric declares.