Big is Beautifull (well, only sometimes)


In general I am big supporter of “small is beautiful”. People perform best in contexts that they can relate to and where they know people. A famous example is the 50 employee limit of the old BSO cells. This is especially important in healthcare… being a personal and social branch. However, there is an important exception: Big DATA.
Last november there was a conference where several parties presented their thoughts and ideas about Big DATA in care.
In healthcare it is important to do research on patterns of symptoms that will end up to be incurable illnesses. In breast cancer research, massive examining of images (X-ray, MRI, CT, ..) has led to all kinds of visual patterns that give strong evidence of future risks of cancer. In breast cancer this works (in the Netherlands) partially, but there are numerous other areas that can benefit from the research into massive amounts of Big DATA.
However, it is often difficult to get access to these massive amounts of data. Hospital records are scattered around and can’t be accessed easily, even within a single hospital. Privacy and expertise on ensuring anonymity is often an issue in distributing data.
One posibility is to learn from industries that have more experience with big data. For example,Izovator -experts in storage of content in the media industries – created a shared environment for hospitals where storage would become much cheaper and where tools to access and work with this data would be available, based on standards. This led to the realization that getting access to all these images in a central location has tremendous opportunity; to do research on patterns that can be found in these massive amounts of data. And these patterns will help future patients in better prevention and cure.
Sharing big data becomes the next BIG step towards a better care!

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