Computer programming has evolved from the development of programs that run on big mainframe computers to ones that run on desktop personal computers (PCs) and small local area networks. Individuals working in public health, therefore, have had to become versed in a variety of different PC applications, such as Access and SPSS. They are charged with the responsibility of determining which programs available on the open market are the best suited to the individual needs of a specific health agency. Decisions are based on the information required to be stored and accessed and the skill level of the staff that will utilize the programs. These individuals are then charged with updating and maintaining these systems for optimum performance.
(see also: Biostatistics; Information Systems; Information Technology; Statistics for Public Health )