INDIANAPOLIS -- Increasingly, health care is an information business. "Regenstrief on Big Health Data," a new blog from the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University provides unique insights into how quality, efficiency, effectiveness and outcomes of care depend on grasping, understanding and using these data.
"The era of big health data is upon us," said William Tierney, M.D., president and CEO of the Regenstrief Institute. "We hope this blog will enhance the understanding and appreciation of its role in health care today, and its promise for tomorrow." He is the author of the first Huffington Post blog post, "Big Health Data, Huge Opportunities."
Already more than 90 percent of U.S. hospitals and an estimated three-quarters of physicians are using electronic health records. Health information exchange, which enables health data to be used at the right time and the right place, is a national priority.
Big health data goes far beyond blood pressure readings or lab test values or the number of babies born in a geographic area. It is exponentially expanded information drilling down to the smallest health detail of the one or the many and makes that information securely available to clinicians, researchers, public health officials, policy makers and patients. Computers can analyze free text -- the narrative comments expressed in everyday language or technical terminology found in patient medical records -- or convey the findings of an imaging test, or prioritize health risks for an entire community.
"Health data are growing in an unprecedented manner in terms of volume and variety," said Titus Schleyer, D.M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics at the Regenstrief Institute. "Our main challenge is to make sense of it - all the way from the individual patient to populations. Big health data are a huge opportunity for the healthcare system to learn day-by-day about what works and what doesn't."
"Regenstrief on Big Health Data" will explore big data and the opportunities it offers to improve individual and population health from a variety of perspectives.
Dr. Tierney and Dr. Schleyer, along with colleagues from the Regenstrief Institute's Centers for Biomedical Informatics, Health Services Research and Aging Research, will be sharing their thoughts about the impact of big data on human health in the new blog.
The Regenstrief Institute is an internationally respected informatics and healthcare research organization, recognized for its role in improving quality of care, increasing efficiency of healthcare delivery, preventing medical errors and enhancing patient safety.