Big Data in Science and Healthcare: A Review of Recent Literature and Perspectives

Journal: IMIA Yearbook
ISSN: 0943-4747

Big Data - Smart Health Strategies

Issue: 2014: IMIA Yearbook 2014
Pages: 21-26

Big Data in Science and Healthcare: A Review of Recent Literature and Perspectives

Contribution of the IMIA Social Media Working Group

Special Section: Big Data - Smart Health Strategies

Working Group Contributions

M. M. Hansen (1), T. Miron-Shatz (2), A. Y. S. Lau (3), C. Paton (4)

(1) School of Nursing and Health Professions, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA; (2) Center for Medical Decision Making, Ono Academic College, Kiryat Ono, Israel; (3) Centre for Health Informatics, Australian Institute of Health Innovation, University of New South Wales, Australia; (4) George Institute for Global Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK


Science, Healthcare, Big data, higher education, analytics, quantified self Introduction, connectivism


Objectives: As technology continues to evolve and rise in various industries, such as healthcare, science, education, and gaming, a sophisticated concept known as Big Data is surfacing. The concept of analytics aims to understand data. We set out to portray and discuss perspectives of the evolving use of Big Data in science and healthcare and, to examine some of the opportunities and challenges. Methods: A literature review was conducted to highlight the implications associated with the use of Big Data in scientific research and healthcare innovations, both on a large and small scale. Results: Scientists and health-care providers may learn from one another when it comes to understanding the value of Big Data and analytics. Small data, derived by patients and consumers, also requires analytics to become actionable. Connectivism provides a framework for the use of Big Data and analytics in the areas of science and healthcare. This theory assists individuals to recognize and synthesize how human connections are driving the increase in data. Despite the volume and velocity of Big Data, it is truly about technology connecting humans and assisting them to construct knowledge in new ways. Concluding Thoughts: The concept of Big Data and associated analytics are to be taken seriously when approaching the use of vast volumes of both structured and unstructured data in science and health-care. Future exploration of issues surrounding data privacy, confidentiality, and education are needed. A greater focus on data from social media, the quantified self-movement, and the application of analytics to "small data" would also be useful.

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