By: Andy Oram
A lot of health-related data has released recently — some datasets of note include what health providers charge for services and Medicare prescribing data (1:34 into the keynote video). Application developers as well as health care reformers, payers, and patient advocates benefit from such open data. Untold terabytes more is pawed over secretly by insurers, large providers, and marketing firms. So have we achieved data nirvana? Not quite.
Dive in with me, as I survey the field of health care data.
Can we improve health care even using bad data? Certainly. After all, we have determined the age of the universe pretty closely with only a few vibrations from unimaginably large distances for evidence. Few choices are as idiosyncratic as how people vote, but Nate Silver combined rough data from many polls and accurately called the 2012 presidential election in every state. Modern statistical tools can do wonders for health care too, even with imperfect (to say the least) data.