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How Big Data can save lives by diagnosing NHS healthcare failings

How Big Data can save lives by diagnosing NHS healthcare failings

According to Wikipedia, "Big Data is an all-encompassing term for any collection of data sets so large or complex that it becomes difficult to process them using traditional data processing applications." Nevertheless, "Advancements in big data analysis offer cost-effective opportunities to improve decision-making in critical development areas such as health care, employment, economic productivity, crime, security, and natural disaster and resource management."

'National Health Service England's Tim Kelsey says "2015 could be a major year for big data in the NHS. This year the government will relaunch, a scheme to allow patient records to be used to improve health services and shared for research purposes.



"I'm sure that most people don't realise the NHS is not currently capable of telling us how many people are treated for chemotherapy, for example, and it's certainly not capable of telling you whether they are treated with a decent outcome," he said.

"There are gaps so big and so dangerous that they have to be filled from a moral as well as a political perspective. So that's what we're going to be doing this year."



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Whilst one can see some of the potential for this huge amount of data once properly analysed and used, the point raised in the article about privacy remains a huge concern. Wrongly used the information can affect insurance, employment, and whether or not people were given all treatment options or indeed any.

The current government were about to treat individuals' information as a cash cow by selling it to pharmaceutical and private healthcare companies - and that was just for starters.

With proper safeguards (and who is to devise them?) there should be great benefit to come - the problem is ensuring that it is patients rather than just big business or the political retinue.

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