At the Centre for Big Data Research in Health (CBDRH), we integrate health data science into everything we do. Our science is an evolving discipline that responds to the growing number of large and complex datasets in health and medicine. Health data science combines methods and tools from health research, statistics and computing sciences to address health and medical problems using data.
‘Big data’ has no agreed definition but the term is generally applied to data that, by virtue of their size and/or complexity, pose challenges to traditional methods for management and analysis.
In health, these data include the millions of records that are generated routinely. These include health services, real-time clinical data captured at the point-of-care, genomic data produced in research and clinical settings, as well as health-related data generated by the population at large through technologies such as wearable devices and social media.
We sit at a key point in history, where big data are poised to become a dominant driver in what happens in health and health care.