Virtually Priceless Thoughts

Reflections on Health, Informatics, and Research

Big Data or Big Information

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There is a lot of buzz about Big Data. Healthcare is an interesting area for big data. Privacy issues aside for the moment.

I have seen some significant improvements in care delivery when people use “small data” to inform decisions rapidly. IHI.org is built on this. Use data to monitor change. Change based on data. Keep what is an improvement. Stop what is not. Rinse and repeat until it is part of your culture.



Some of us imagine the potential improvements if there were big data to use rapidly in exploring questions and testing hypotheses.



But of course privacy issues cannot be put aside. Two ways to begin to address this (to get to big data) are engaging people directly (e.g. sharing my own data into the pool — you see this with 23andMe, etc) and finding novel ways to access the information gleaned from the data without needing to own the data. Perhaps the term for this is “Big Information” not Big Data.

Written by priceless

December 15th, 2011 at 8:42 am

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