“U.S. spends more per person on health care than any other nation in the world – without obvious evidence of better outcome.” This problem may be solved by the proper use of big data.
There has been a lot of talk about big data lately. You might be wondering what this all means or how it can impact your work.
What do people mean by big data?
Big data refers to the collection of large data sets and its management for proper use. It is often considered as unstructured data. In terms of how it is applied to health, it is the idea of how it can be captured and stored effectively to be properly analyzed for correlations and valuable change in health improvement.
The best description I’ve heard of big data is by Todd Park when he describes it as “making data actionable.”
WIRED & RWJF talk big data
The WIRED magazine and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) recently had a gathering of great minds in New York City, October 12-14. The conference engaged thought leaders in a groundbreaking conversation on the future of healthcare, one which focused solely on big data. Read Dr. Phred Pilkington’s, ePublic Health & Informatics workgroup member, summary of the conference here.
RWJF’s Steve Downs, chief technology officer, recently talked about Better Data = Better Health. For him, big data “is really an umbrella concept that speaks to the huge growth in the availability of data, and its ability to drive understanding, and ultimately improvements in health.” – via RWJF
Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s president and CEO, said big data is like “watching the planet develop a nervous system.”
How might big data improve your work in public health?
Analysis of data sets:
• Will give a clearer idea of areas of investment;
• An emergence of innovation of new products in the industry;
• A change to current business models;
• More realistic short term to long term value;
• Cost-effective measures; and
• Proven best practices in prevention and treatment.
The list goes on.
This is only a preview of many more big data discussions to come. In the meantime, we want to hear from you. How are you making use of big data within your community?
• In what areas of your work would data be most useful?
• Are you collecting data and making it actionable? How?