Forget Big Data. It’s Time to Talk About Small Data.

With all of the talk of “big data,” it can be hard to remember that there was ever any other kind of data. If you’re not talking about big data — you know, the 4 V’s: volume, variety, velocity, and veracity — you should go back to running your little science fair experiments until you’re ready to get serious. Prevalent though this message may be, it has, at least in health care, stunted our ability to focus on and capture the hidden 5th V of big data: value.

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Why the stakes are so high in the open data debate

It is hard to understate just how much of a currency data has become in medicine. Whether talking about evidence-based medicine, precision medicine, or genomics, the ability to collect and distill data into information, transform it into knowledge, and use that knowledge to drive effective action is at the heart of what modern medicine seeks to accomplish. The centrality of data to this process has created well-entrenched stakeholders, which is why it comes as no surprise that the conversation around open sharing of research data following publication has shifted into controversial territory.

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Herald: Solving the Data Overload Problem for Doctors

Problem

Logo_3x2Doctors are overwhelmed with data. They spend 12% of their time looking up clinical data when they could be seeing patients and still information gets missed. In fact, the IOM has identified untimely access to clinical data as a leading contributor to the 3rd leading cause of death in the US: medical errors. Existing information systems and electronic medical records are better optimized for billing and documentation than they
are for making care safer. There has to be a better way.

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The Opinionated Electronic Medical Record

This post also appeared on KevinMD.

Software has opinions. No, I’m not talking about opinions on the next presidential election or opinions about flossing before or after brushing. Software has opinions about how data should be displayed, opinions about users’ comfort with the mouse, even, in some cases, opinions about what you should have for dinner (see your local on-demand food ordering service).

We tend to view software as a tool that is either good or bad. Good when it lets us do what we want with as little frustration as possible and bad when it doesn’t. Maybe we should be a little nicer to software.

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A good brainteaser is hard to find

I enjoy a good brainteaser, one that you really have to concentrate on and with enough revelations built in that make the end result a satisfying accomplishment. Here are some of my favorites. I made the answer text white so that you can’t see it unless you highlight (click and drag) over it.


Question: If you place 3 points randomly on the perimeter of a circle, what is the probability that all 3 lie on the same semi-circle?

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Reach: Text-Message Appointment Reminder System

Problem

reach exampleIn aggregate, community health centers account for the care of about 20 million people in the US. Over half of these patients represent racial or ethnic minorities and over a fifth (22%) prefer to speak Spanish rather than English.

Most CHC revenue comes from fee-for-service reimbursement paid by Medicaid (40%), private payers (7%), and Medicare (6%). This has led CHCs to pursue many of the strategies for maintaining solvency as other care centers across the US, including increasing patient visit volume and improving operational efficiency.

One problem all clinic sites face is the incidence of no-shows, patients for which an appointment is scheduled but that do not show up. It is estimated that no-shows account for 5-30% of appointments scheduled across the US and it is typically higher at CHCs. No-shows risk failing to deliver appropriate care to patients for whom they are scheduled in a timely or continuous manner, reduce access to scarce healthcare resources for those waiting for appointments, and represent up to 15% of lost revenue for the clinic.

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