Technology
e-Newsletter
Intelligence Unit Special Reports Special Events Subscribe Sponsored Departments Follow Us

Twitter Facebook LinkedIn RSS

Big Data Sparks a Quest for Simplicity

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, December 18, 2012

As the year comes to a close, I've got simplicity on my mind.

The data tsunami is just beginning to hit healthcare. As I wrote almost a year ago, just enough technology should be our goal. But we also need to identify just enough data. That will be a much more difficult goal to achieve.

Big data is everywhere we turn. But big data requires big technology to analyze and make actionable. As one vendor quipped, what we really need is small data, the data that matters most.

The clinical quality measures coming down in Meaningful Use Stage 2—and now out for public comment, Meaningful Use Stage 3—are healthcare's version of the Amazon wish list, and if we're not careful, they will overwhelm fledgling efforts to find that actionable data.

The end of the year is a great time to pause and ask ourselves whether we are trying to gather too much data too fast, without having a real action plan.

What are some of the things we need to do the most? Some of these things are so rudimentary; they are hardly being discussed at all.

Take just one example: Electronic medical records. Electronic health records. Are they one and the same?

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Comments are moderated. Please be patient.

2 comments on "Big Data Sparks a Quest for Simplicity"


Phyllis Kritek (12/19/2012 at 9:41 AM)
Kudos for tackling this tough topic. Your interest in distinguishing EMR from EHR may be more complex than you think. It points to an ingrained health care cultures dilemma that warrants your reflection. While the discipline of medicine often assumes all data on the patient might best be referred to as the data of "medicine", the other health professions view medicine's data as just that, the contribution of one essential source but not the only one. The composite of data from all health care contributors, including the patient, creates the health care data set. IT professionals often see the dilemma but do not see that it is embedded in an old and fairly resistant mindset that our colleagues in medicine often continue to embrace. I wish you well in your challenge. I know it well. This disconnect, among others, has us all drowning in poorly integrated data...

Joe Nichols MD (12/18/2012 at 2:05 PM)
At last! A breath of sanity. While everyone is heading towards the "Big Data" promised land, someone is finally asking the key question. Is more data better. The current challenge is not that we don't have enough data, it's that we don't have enough data that is standard, clearly defined, complete, accurate and all the other parameters of data quality that most organization many organization ignore. My experience in looking at multiple data from multiple entities is that better data quality is far more valuable that more bad data.