The Standard Data BlogStories from Standard Data, the best health data management tool for modern data collection and analysis.

Secure Data Kit Q3 2020 Release: Feedback Loops, Embedded Dashboards, and Public Data

The COVID pandemic has focused a spotlight on a variety of things affecting the world right now: equitable access to medicine and care, the role of public health in our society, and the importance of reliable, public data. These things helped us understand the importance of how Secure Data Kit can play a role in the... Continue reading

Secure Data Kit Q3 2020 Release: Feedback Loops, Embedded Dashboards, and Public Data

The COVID pandemic has focused a spotlight on a variety of things affecting the world right now: equitable access to medicine and care, the role of public health in our society, and the importance of reliable, public data. These things helped us understand the importance of how Secure Data Kit can play a role in the... Continue reading

COVID-19 Form Templates

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, access to clear and credible data is more important than ever. Data is not only informing policy decisions and public health initiatives, but during this unusual time the *general public* is also seeking out data to inform how to feel about where we stand in our efforts to comb... Continue reading

27 February 2020 - Release Notes

Version 3.0.5 of the SDK mobile app was released today, which includes a safeguard allowing us to manually extract the database from Android devices should the user experiencing issues submitting data collected on the device. Continue reading

25 February 2020 - Release Notes

Version 3.0.3 of Secure Data Kit was released today, containing the following improvements:

  • Resolved crashes related to pressing the 'back' button when navigating out of a parent form.
  • Resolved issue where integer values did not show in the completed form on the device despite saving properly in... Continue reading

10 February 2020 - Release Notes

We have updated our API so that only projects leveraging the new SDK app will show in the apps home page, and projects leveraging the legacy app will not be shown. Continue reading

Tracking Covid-19 (Coronavirus) in Africa

Given how much work we do throughout Africa, it goes without saying that we've kept a close eye on the developments of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) throughout the region. So it came as a bit of a surprise that when I went to look for a consolidated list of countries in Africa and their stats on the virus, I couldn't find ... Continue reading

What we can learn from the Iowa Caucus app meltdown

If you’re in North America no doubt you’ve at least heard of the debacle in Iowa. In short, the Iowa team deployed a new app to help collect data from over 1600 precincts. It used to be done with pen / paper but, since it’s 2020, everyone’s first impulse is to say “tech can make EVERYTHING better” Let us stop you... Continue reading

Atlanta Startup Awards Winner: Best Impact Company

Last week the Atlanta Startup Awards happened. And we actually won something — the Impact award. Which is super cool because there are a lot of different startup awards out there — fastest growing, best culture, best looking team (not actually an award but If it was we’d definitely win). The impact award is espe... Continue reading

Update to reporting engine that powers SDK Dashboards

We recently updated the reporting engine that powers SDK Dashboards (Metabase). If you see a problem with any of your dashboards that may have been caused by this update, please contact us and we will be happy to help! Just click 'Support' in the bottom right and describe your issue — our customer success team will ... Continue reading

Finding Hope in Data

I’m staring at my calendar looking at the date two weeks from now — the year will be 2020 and for as long as I could remember, 2020 was “the future”.

  • When we’d be zipping around in flying cars.
  • Cancer would be cured with some kind of radical gene therapy.
  • I’d have a little robot that moto... Continue reading

Data Management + Data Cleaning - Best Practices!

Throughout our experience working with a variety of partners on all-things-data, we've picked up some simple tips + tricks along the way. Some of the best practices we use & share with all of our clients are:

  1. Define goals + important indicators first This one is huge and goes a lo... Continue reading

18 Dec 2019 - Release Notes

Recently we released a fun update that allows you to view your records by their label rather than their variable name (this means you can read your data in plain English — or whatever language — instead of trying to decipher the variables that the database stores). We noticed a small bug where labels wouldn't displa... Continue reading

10 Dec 2019 - Release Notes

We created a new customer success page which brings together all the helpful information we often share with customers on their journey to making the most of Secure Data Kit. Check out our customer success pageContinue reading

SDK Q4 Product Guide

Our Q4 Product Guide was recently released! Read on to learn more about how Secure Data Kit can be used to collect, analyze, and share data. Download the Q4 Product Guide Continue reading

Defining Indicators - Ahead of Time!

We've seen a lot of (really smart) folks who have collected a lot of (really great) data, but once their survey wraps up, they're left with too much information that's not organized in the best way — making analysis quite difficult. This is where we've been stepping in lately to say 'Slow ya roll' and let's chat ... Continue reading

New Records View Option + Server Updates + Bug Fixes

New Records View Options

We're excited to share that we've taken a step to make your data easier to understand. Secure Data Kit has by default displayed your data exactly as it appears in the underlying database, but sometimes this is difficult to translate as the variables aren't always in a human-reada... Continue reading

Download All Datasets, Web Form Improvements and More!

Downloading Datasets

Secure Data Kit has always allowed you to download your datasets, but for larger projects with lots of datasets it was kind of cumbersome if you wanted to download them all. If you had a project with 10 datasets, you would have to click that mouse 20 times to request to download ever... Continue reading

View Report Queries / Scripts & Protection from Deleting Records

Secure Data Kit's robust Analytics section has allowed our clients to create their own custom reports by writing SQL queries and uploading R scripts, but it hasn't always made it easy to update those reports because after the query or script was uploaded, you can't see it ever again! Which was silly, we know... ... Continue reading

Links to images now display in your dataset

With the Secure Data Kit mobile apps you can capture photos in the field. Previously, the file names of those photos displayed in your dataset, which wasn't particularly useful. Now, we've removed the file names and are instead displaying a link which will take you directly to your image, where you can view or save ... Continue reading

Better error messages when creating a form with XLSForm or XML files.

Secure Data Kit has long supported the popular form authoring techniques XLSForm and XML files. While relatively simple to learn, XLSForm and XML files can be very difficult to troubleshoot if any issues do arise. That's why we worked hard to help you identify any issues in your files when you upload them to Secure ... Continue reading

We've moved to a new ticketing system so we can support you better and faster!

For the past few years we've been using a home grown ticketing system to field requests and issues regarding Secure Data Kit. It's become clear that it's time we move to something a bit more official -- something that aligns better with the great customer service our support team prides themselves on. We are now usi... Continue reading

24 Sept 2019 - Release Notes

Your projects page is now SUPER FAST!

Lots of work was done 'behind the scenes' to make SDK load faster after you log in. But... how much faster is SUPER FAST? I'm glad you asked, because we've got some numbers! We recruited the help of our most active user, and timed how long it took for them to load thei... Continue reading

Our Process for Custom Implementations of SDK

Our favorite thing in the world is to build data science tools for the global health world. We like it so much that we want to do it often and do it together, so we’ve adopted a process that makes working with us just as fun as using the tools we create together. This way of working... Continue reading

Setting a Default Dashboard in SDK

With the launch of SDK:Analyze, more and more of our customers are making use of real-time dashboards, which tell the true story of the progress their organizations are making. The Analytics module within Secure Data Kit can hold lots and lots of reports, but previously those reports were buried behind 'cards' and y... Continue reading

Secure Data Kit: Commitment to country ownership of data


Secure Data Kit (SDK) has been committed to country ownership of data since its inception. SDK avoids becoming an implementing partner owned digital silo by supporting multiple modalities of national ownership, such as easy to use tool to manage user accounts, and full integration with existing ... Continue reading

Suggested use case: how to use barcodes to keep data secure

One question we often get from clients is how best to maintain anonymity of the people they’re interviewing and tracking via Secure Data Kit. The answer we almost always come back to a relatively straightforward solution: bar codes. Here’s how it works:

  1. When setting up your forms, instead of putting in an... Continue reading

Consolidating Reporting Across 40 Countries Using SDK:Analyze

There are many challenges in conducting research studies in a variety of countries in remote parts of the world:

  1. How do you collect the data? Should you use paper? Excel? Mobile?
  2. How do you coordinate activities among such a wide cross section of people?
  3. How do you then analyze the data in a... Continue reading

We're not just a data collection tool anymore

Once a quarter we bring our core team to Atlanta, Standard Co’s unofficial home (we’re remote but it’s about as central as we get). During that trip home we share what we call a Quarterly Business Review. It’s a forum to share with the team some high level things — our vision, what makes us tick, big wins (and losse... Continue reading

Kenya Smartphone Survey Results (March 2019)

3 years ago, we embarked on a pretty crazy project with our good friends at Merck and the Kenyan Ministry of Health: use mobile technology to track the “last mile” of medicine distribution throughout a few thousand sch... Continue reading


Transform lives with data

One of the most powerful tools global healthcare organizations and non-profits can use to transform lives is data. It's what helps them tell the true story of progress. Before using SDK:Analyze, a non-profit in Rwanda relied on spreadsheets to store and analyze data. This was a fi... Continue reading

Case Study: How an NGO uses Secure Data Kit to transform lives

Back in 2017, we had the opportunity to work with our first NGO client, Amigos for Christ (AFC). Their mission: “We work shoulder-to-shoulder with Nicaraguan neighbors to bring clean water, healthcare, education, and economic opportunity to rural communities in need.” This mission seemed to line up nicely with what ... Continue reading

11 Oct 2018 - Release Notes

A customer reported an issue they encountered when trying to download the dataset records to a CSV. The CSV would show all records from the dataset crammed into a single row, rather than dedicating one row for each record. The root cause was quickly identified and a fix was deployed, and this issue is no longer occu... Continue reading

Secure Data Kit - Data Governance

All communications with SDK servers are encrypted

We encrypt via TSL all communications between client and server and between our own systems.

Data are encrypted at rest

Our database instances leverage “encryption at rest” which essentially means the data are encrypted at the server level and ... Continue reading

Embed R functionality in your website or application

About a year ago, we rolled out a major overhaul to Secure Data Kit’s reporting system. You can read the link for all the cool stuff we did but it included things like making data exportable, integrations with... Continue reading

28 September 2018 Release Notes - New Language Support + Bug Fixes

The SDK2 mobile app (available on Android and iPhone) is now sporting new language support - Spanish! SDK2 has always supported forms in multiple languages, the the app itself was only available in English. Now the app can be used in Spanish as well. If you'd like to use SDK2 in Spanish, please contact us by adding ... Continue reading

21 August 2018 Release Notes - Improved Support for Repeaters + General Bug Fixes

This release focuses on improving our support of 'repeaters' in forms, and some general bug fixes. Improved Support for Repeaters

  • If a form contains repeaters, SDK now automatically creates datasets for each repeater and displays them in your SDK project underneath their parent form.Continue reading

24 May 2018 Release Notes - Send user invitations in bulk

SDK's latest updates include new user invitation functionality which will allow project administrators to invite users in bulk! In the user invite section of your project, click 'Bulk Add Users.' ... Continue reading

27 April 2018 Release Notes - View only user role

Today we released a new role in SDK: View Only. This new role allows organization admins to invite individuals to a project that can view all the data, without permissions to download or edit data. To invite someone to a project with view only permissions, click the checkbox next to 'User can view data' when inv... Continue reading

Secure Data Kit provides Health Data Management in Fifty Countries

We started Secure Data Kit with humble intentions; we knew that Open Data Kit, an open-source suite of tools built to help organizations author, field, and manage mobile data collection, had gaps in its offering. More importantly, we knew we could do more than just fill in the gaps Open Data Kit had, improving our o... Continue reading

SDK + S3 Optimization: Moving file uploads to background workers

Building an app that is used around the globe and in locations with slow internet speeds resulted in some logic being built out to protect ourselves from data loss in SDK. Although we have done our best to make sure each submission saves without issue, it’s always good to have backups in case something goes awry. Th... Continue reading

SDK Reporting: Calculate and share without lifting a finger

Late in 2017 we rolled out a revamped Secure Data Kit that we’re calling...wait for it….SDK 2! We’re geniuses, right? Part of that rollout was a big upgrade to SDK Reporting. The first iteration of Secure Data Kit was all about collecting and organizing data. We made it easy to get data into SDK via mobile, SMS, A... Continue reading

The People You Need On Your Data Team

If you want your project to be successful, you will need good people on your team. Happy, hard-working experts. Your team will need skills across two dimensions. They should be specialists in their role and they should be a pleasure to work with. More projects have been scuttled by interpersonal issues than by a lac... Continue reading

18th Neglected Tropical Disease -- Chromomycosis

This past week the World Health Organization agreed to class the disease chromomycosis as a Continue reading

Authoring an XLSForm to Create a Basic Survey

There are countless ways to develop a survey, but none as comprehensive as the XLSForm. XLSForms are easy to author, and can be as simple or complex as needed to meet your goals. There are two ways to author an XLSForm:

  1. Send your survey questions in any format t... Continue reading

How to Train Like the CDC

The CDC through AFENET runs a program called START Kenya. START Kenya provides on-the-job training and mentoring to sub-county and health facility immunization staff to improve program planning, monitoring, and supportive supervision. The START Kenya program uses LINKS System to track the activities of the mentor... Continue reading

LINKS System is now a part of SDK

Standard Code's product Secure Data Kit adopted LINKS System this week. Standard Code has worked closely with the NTD Support Center in the development of LINKS System and is excited about having more control over its development to better meet the needs of the Global Health community. You can read more about the an... Continue reading

Making A Plan Before Collecting Data

Do you want to make life better for someone who is suffering? Maybe you want to reduce the burden of Malaria in Eastern Kenya or protect mothers from gender-based violence in the Central African Republic. Before you start collecting data, ask yourself what do you hope to achieve. What is the goal of your project? ... Continue reading