Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 12:33:28 -0400
Reply-To: Peter Flom <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sender: "SAS(r) Discussion" <SAS-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: Peter Flom <peterflomconsulting@MINDSPRING.COM>
Subject: Re: Clinical programming without programmers?
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RolandRB <rolandberry@HOTMAIL.COM> wrote>And another thing. When the statistician is preparing the table
>templates document then what if there were a tool to help them that
>not only allowed them to select a suitable template and allow them to
>add the table number, titles and footnotes but also to say what
>variable to select on and how and through that generate the code to
>produce the output? It's not so far fetched to write such a push-
>button reporting system.
I don't know much about clinical work, but it seems to me that there's a division of work:
1) Stuff only a programmer could do
2) Stuff only a statistician could do
3) Stuff anyone who can use a computer could do.
This is certainly true in much of the work I do in other areas.
The little interaction I have had with statisticians doing clinical trials (and correct me if I am wrong, this is hearsay) is that you learn everything you need to know in 6 months, then boredom until you quit. The impression I get is that FDA requirements are so strict that there is little if any room for a statistician to use his or her brains.
OTOH, I do like the saying that "there are no routine statistical questions, only questionable statistical routines". I imagine that something like that is also true for programming. Certainly when I ask a programming question here on SAS-L, I usually get multiple replies, often quite different from each other. Yet the impression one gets from 'outside' programming is that there is a WAY to do it RIGHT and the other ways are WRONG. From my clients, I can tell that they get the same impression about statistics.
I am leery of automated "push button" reporting systems for the same reason that I am leery of menu-driven or gui driven statistics; they encourage the attitude that "the computer said it, I believe it, that settles it"
Peter L. Flom, PhD
www DOT peterflom DOT com