COMET Tips & Tricks - Data Elements

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We thought it might help to provide an overview on data available in COMET because who doesn't love to talk about data?! [wink, wink] But seriously, COMET is fundamentally "child centric", meaning that the system is designed to record data that serve or relate to the child. (e.g.: Mother of Birth, Father of Birth, Household Environment, Primary Care Provider). However, the breadth of data we can store related to a child is wide and comes in many forms.

"Operational" Data Elements: These elements support the overall operation of an organization or program. Examples of these elements include when an email was sent to a parent, the date of the next visit, membership or service dues collected. They are often relevant for only a short time and of value primarily for operational purposes.

Only One Value per Child; No Change Tracking: These are data elements - such as Last Name, First Name or Date of Birth - that are unique for the child and for which change-tracking is not required. For example, First Name may have been entered with a spelling mistake an then fixed. We do not track the change nor store the incorrect prior entry. COMET has about a dozen of these fields.

Only One Value per Child; Track Changes: These are data elements - such as Address or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) eligibility - that have a static value for a given child at a given date but may change often. We want to be able to view the history of changes for that field, but primarily access the current value. COMET has over 150 of these fields

Multiple Values per Child: These are data elements that may have multiple entries for a child - such as Family Relationships, Contacts, Consents, Vaccination Records. Depending upon each client configuration, COMET manages multiple active/inactive and current/history records associated with each. 

Multiple Values per Child with History of Changes / Instruments: These represent entities that have multiple occurrences for a given child for which we are interested in viewing the change over a period of time (pre/post analysis, longitudinal, etc.). In addition to the data elements collected when completing a response, these instruments are often associated with an assessment. Some assessments are "normalized" (they follow a norm, often authoritative) or "standardized" (statistically position the child against their peers). Assessments are key for monitoring individual progress, informing the practice and measuring individual impact in a continuous improvement model. They are also the base for program evaluations for example, assessing a group of children that has received a service in comparison to a group that has not.

Let us know if this was helpful or contact us if you have more questions.

Looking for more tips on data management? Check out this blog post about Chronic Spreadsheet Fatigue.

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