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Three Data Science Controversies: How big data is changing health research

  May 5, 2017

Data science in the field of healthcare practice is increasingly growing in popularity, rapidly outdoing the relevance of research data collected in controlled groups. Dr. Niels Peek – Guest Faculty, Institute of Healthcare Management, elaborates on three controversies derived from traditional principles of health data collection and their relevance to modern day scientific research.

Research data gathered from real time healthcare practice such as electronic health records, electronic disease registry, data sprouting from administrative functions such as billing and insurance can be of as much value if not more, than research data collected in controlled environment, Dr. Peek explains. “Studies have shown that data collected in clinical trials – controlled environments, are very hard to apply. For example, minute elements that are significant in monitoring behavior and body response may otherwise go unnoticed in controlled trials.”

Dr. Peek questions the way health data is collected and used by examining three controversial statements:

  • Data shall only be used for the purposes of that which it was collected for
  • Controlled trials in scientific research may not be needed
  • Big data may even render theory obsolete

Dr. Niels Peek is a reader in health informatics at the University of Manchester, the director of Greater Manchester Connected Health City and the president of the Society for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine.

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