Material Data Sheets Online

Community CarePartners, Inc. (CCP) is a cooperative venture among five nonprofit healthcare providers in Western North Carolina. The purpose of CCP is to provide a full continuum of post-acute and community-based care, from acute inpatient rehabilitation to hospice services, home health to long-term and sub-acute care, adult day health services to independent living. The five member organizations of CCP are MountainCARE, Mountain Area Hospice, Thoms Rehabilitation Hospital, Visiting Health Professions, and Green Tree Ridge and The Summit.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are used in almost every company in the United States. MSDS are documents that contain information on a specific chemical or substance used within the company. Information includes chemical identification, manufacturer, first aid, etc. Currently, the MSDS at CCP, where I have been doing my internship for the last year, are all stuffed in large binders, which are located around the campus.

The goal of this project was to design, implement, and support an online application that would allow employees of Community CarePartners to access MSDS across the network quickly and easily. Employees would be able to perform searches for MSDS in a variety of ways and also be able to print hardcopies if necessary. There would also need to be a secure Administration page that would allow a user to add, update, and delete MSDS as needed.

In order to implement such a project, I first needed to know the specifications and requirements for this project. There were a number of questions that I had to ask Henry Barton, the Director of Plant Operations and Safety, to determine what kind of application I needed to create. I also had to learn to use Cold Fusion Studio and Microsoft SQL Server, the software that was necessary to implement my project.
I encountered numurous problems during the development of this project. Not only did I encounter technical and programming problems, but I experienced a few people problems as well. At the beginning of the project, my problems were mainly technical oriented. I couldnt decide what database software to use nor did I know how I was going to put it on our local intranet. Once I did know, I wasnt sure how to link the two together. Actual coding of my project was quite difficult as well since I was learning the Cold Fusion Markup Language (CFML) as I was going along.

After the initial design and coding of the project, I experienced my first people problem. Mr. Barton decided to change the specifications to better serve the needs of the employees at CCP. Luckily, the changes werent major and re-designing the project only took a few days. With this in mind, I met with Mr. Barton every week to inform him of progress that I was making. If meeting in person was impossible, then we exchanged e-mail. This dramatically cut down on the number of people problems I would experience through the remainder of the development cycle.

I believe my senior project has been an overall success. My application has been up and running on the CCP intranet homepage for a while now and already I have had positive feedback. I have made the jobs of fellow employees a little easier by giving them an easier way to search for MSDS and by eliminating the need to store large amounts of hardcopies of the companys MSDS in binders and folders located in every department. I have also learned two new programming languages that may be useful to me in the future and learned even more about the importance of communication to achieve desired results.

Advisor: Susan Reiser

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Student Name: 
James Brian Tysinger