Experiences of a FileMaker Pro Database Developer

Helping Our Soldiers Quit Smoking, Part 3

Planning the Database

The way I see the Tobacco Cessation database laying out is that there will essentially be two tables. One table stores the Marine & Sailor’s basic information. This is the people table. In this table is everything that doesn’t change. The second table is what I’m calling Appointments. I’m assuming Commander  Baker is collecting this information based on having an appointment with one of his Marines or Sailors. One person can have multiple appointments, based on them being seen multiple times over their treatment period.

Appointments is where you store everything that changes. I used my best judgement here to get started, so some of this information could go in the people table, but I figured this data could change sometime during a  future appointment.

Right now we are creating a method to collect the data. Once you have the data entered I can help you with reporting and making something meaningful out of the data.

Download the PDF to see Table and Field descriptions:

After sending the outline and how I planned to setup the databases, Commander Baker replied:

Commander Baker: I read the case study and I enjoy it very much. I hope this case helps others like [me] in trying to learn more about FileMaker Pro. I forgot to include additional fields involving 2 tests that I have used to asses Nicotine Dependency and psychological reasons for tobacco use. The first test is called the “Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence” and the “Horn Psychological Test.” The Fagerstrom Test is composed of 6 questions that depending on the answers, the total points can indicate highly, moderate or minimal nicotine dependency. The Horn test goes into why the person smokes and it has a total of 18 questions created in such a way that a total of 6 sets of 3 questions help identify the psychological reasons for smoking such as due to stimulation, handling of the cigarette, pleasure, reduce tension, craving and habit. Scores can vary from 3 to 15 points. Any score of 11 or above is considered high and score of 7 or below is low. Both tests are taken by all my patients so they can better understand their nicotine addiction and to find other healthy ways to handle their needs, for example, using diaphragmatic breathing to relax instead of smoking to release stress. Could you include the scores of these tests as part of the database? Enclosed are the 2 tests. For the Horn test, I just want the input scores for each section (Stimulation, Handling, Pleasure, Reduce Tension, Craving and Habit). I would like the database to show how many individuals had scores emphasizing “Stimulation” versus ‘Habit” for example. What was the most common psychological needs based on the Horn tests?, etc.

I want to thank you for your help in setting this up. I am going to read the materials you suggested in prior email. Thanks.

Very respectfully,

CDR Alfredo “Devil Doc” Baker, MD, MC, USN
Operational Stress Control and Readiness Team Psychiatrist
Regimental Combat Team 8
Delaram, Afghanistan
“With My Marines and Sailors, to the Gates of Hell and back, anytime, anywhere…” Iraq, circa March 2003

With this new additional information, I sent the following email with more questions. This is typical when building a database. It’s important to try and capture exactly what’s needed, but keep in mind this will probably change along the way too.

Matt: Did you get my other email entitled “TBC FileMaker Database” that I sent before this one? It had 3 attachments including an outline.

Are these tests a one time test or could they be given to your same patient more than once? Yes, we can add the scores to the database. For the Fagerstrom test it would just be one field for a numbered score, correct? I would then use a calculation field to interpret the score to the one if the 3, High, Moderate or Minimal. You could then search or sort by this data and you could group all your High Dependencies together, etc.

As for the Horn, I would include 6 fields with their scores then calculation fields that indicate High or Low for each.

We could then developing reporting based on the scores of these tests.

Let me know if you can’t find my other email.


PS. What’s the hour difference between here on the East Coast and Afghanistan? It’s 8:30AM now and I think it’s 5PM your time. Are you guys 8.5 hours ahead of us?

Below are the answers to my questions. It’s also great to hear that Commander Baker’s dedication to our soldiers is helping them deal with their addiction and that he’s having positive results with his program.

Commander Baker: Good morning Matt. Yes, it is 1708 here which means it is 0838 in the East coast, you are correct, we are 8.5 hrs ahead of you guys. Yes, my apologies, I saw the files and I like the way you organized it. While in the process of printing them, the power went off and it just came back. In terms of both tests, the are only given once. I agree on one field for the Fagerstrom test. Agree with the other fields for the Horn test. I am so glad that I was able to find you website. I will be starting another new group next week as the success of the first group is spreading like a wild fire.

I have not taken objective data or exact amount of cigarette these Marines and Sailors have already cut down as I told them not to stop smoking until after 2 weeks of taking Wellbutrin SR and starting the Nicotine patch. Some of them have told that the desire of smoking again is almost gone, others reported decreased desire to smoke as it tasted bad and it reminded them of the carcinogenic substances in the cigarette or dip can. Most of them have decreased their smoking (since the start of the course 2 weeks) about 40-70% of their daily consumption. I never expected such dramatic drop but it appears that the way I prepared the program, it looks like it is working; however, as I said before, it is early in the game but these are positive results.

Again, I am so glad that you are helping me putting this together. Tonight, I am going to print the reading material you recommended. We have our numbers of power outages so access to the internet and/or the electric power may be disrupted and sometimes the internet is so slow that not even a web page is able to load in less than 3 minutes. But most of the time is good.

Again thanks for your help.

In my next post I will have instructions on how to create the database file along with an example file.

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Part 1 

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  1. Charles Katjivirue says:

    Hi Matt, I just stumble on your impressive website and the work you are doing. It pains me why it took me this long. One thing that worries me is that your last communation was in September 2013. Are you well, alive and still doing FileMaker. I am in Nambia, somewhere in sourthern Africa. I studied at Macalester College in Minisota 15 years ago. I want to develop a database for livestock farming. I have development a conceptual schema and I could send it you for analysis and advice. I get it working, I would want to have a front-end on a website that access on a server somewhere


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