Big Data in Health Improvement

Big data – which the CLAHRC WM Director takes to be large datasets (terabytes or more) that have been collected from more than one source – have great potential use in health improvement according to a recent article.[1] However, the article provides few examples, and those that are mentioned are parochial, relating how an individual hospital improved performance on the basis of local audit. Hardly big data. A better example would come from improvements in diabetes care in Scotland based on the National data-linkage system.[2] The CLAHRC WM Director suspects there are many others and asks readers to send examples.

— Richard Lilford, CLAHRC WM Director


  1. Wyber R, Vaillancourt S, Perry W, Mannava P, Folaranmi T, Celi LA. Big data in global health: improving health in low- and middle-income countries. Bull World Health Organ. 2015; 93(3): 203-8.
  2. Cunningham S, McAlpine R, Leese R, et al. Using web technology to support population-based diabetes care. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2011; 5(3): 523-34.

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