Big Data in Medicine Is Driving Big Changes

Journal: IMIA Yearbook
ISSN: 0943-4747

Big Data - Smart Health Strategies

Issue: 2014: IMIA Yearbook 2014
Pages: 14-20

Big Data in Medicine Is Driving Big Changes

Special Section: Big Data - Smart Health Strategies


F. Martin-Sanchez (1, 2), K. Verspoor (2, 1)

(1) Health and Biomedical Informatics Centre, The University of Melbourne, Parkville VIC 3010 Australia; (2) Department of Computing and Information Systems, The University of Melbourne, Parkville VIC 3010 Australia


Data Mining, Text Mining, Medical Informatics, Information Systems, information storage and retrieval


Objectives: To summarise current research that takes advantage of "Big Data" in health and biomedical informatics applications. Methods: Survey of trends in this work, and exploration of literature describing how large-scale structured and unstructured data sources are being used to support applications from clinical decision making and health policy, to drug design and pharmacovigilance, and further to systems biology and genetics. Results: The survey highlights ongoing development of powerful new methods for turning that large-scale, and often complex, data into information that provides new insights into human health, in a range of different areas. Consideration of this body of work identifies several important paradigm shifts that are facilitated by Big Data resources and methods: in clinical and translational research, from hypothesis-driven research to data-driven research, and in medicine, from evidence-based practice to practice-based evidence. Conclusions: The increasing scale and availability of large quantities of health data require strategies for data management, data linkage, and data integration beyond the limits of many existing information systems, and substantial effort is underway to meet those needs. As our ability to make sense of that data improves, the value of the data will continue to increase. Health systems, genetics and genomics, population and public health; all areas of biomedicine stand to benefit from Big Data and the associated technologies.

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