Friday, February 7, 2014

Small Data

Health care and health reform are being influenced by seemingly unrelated spheres of influence. Many industries are effected by these same interactions in banking, transportation, defense, technology, basic science, education and government.

The age in which we live is both exciting and terrifying. Now that I am a septagenerian I see it is both. And somehow we will survive, grow stronger and thrive.

The catalyst is largely information technology and cyber technology, whether it is functions for gathering data, analytics,pseudo artificial intelligence, or robotics.  All of it is shaped by bits and bytes.  Even the basic materials of the integrated circuit and computer microprocessors will undergo basic changes perhaps away from silicon to carbon or even biological compounds such as the building blocks of DNA, nucleic acids.

Rather than having a simple bit or byte, nucleic acids as we know them, offer 4 different subunits that form a lexicon for building proteins from amino acids.

Big Data is often quoted in health care for analytics, for biological and research discoveries.

We in health care are now being continuously bombarded about the essentiality of gathering more and more information. Our government is underwriting some of the costs and also placing a large burden upon not only physicians but all providers, and hospitals to enter health data into the IT infrastrucure for some future use, some of which is still not defined, and some which is truly unproven.  Despite this billions of dollars have been and will be spent on this endeavor.

There have been some precautionary notes offered from other sectors:

Viewpoint: Why your company should NOT use “Big Data”

The latest trend is “Big Data”. The original concept of Big Data was the concept of using all of the information a company collect that was being thrown away due to costs and capacity constraints. With the rapidly declining cost of storage and retrieval, combined with machine learning, we should be able to find insights in all that ‘garbage data’ and use it to make better decisions in the core business. At least that’s the theory. As far as the basic theory goes it’s all true, but it’s not the full story.

Like a lot of trends, the drive to mastering Big Data has gone a little overboard. Google searches for the term “Big Data” has grown from practically nothing in 2010 to almost 200,000 searches a month by the end of 2013

It has become so ingrained in company cultures that to say you don’t want to use Big Data is a bit like saying you are against data-driven decision making. It would be career suicide to say Big Data is a waste of company time and resources.

The graph below depicts the exponential growth of big data over time.

The details can be found at the original article on ViewPoint
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