In my mind, I always imagined a resource like this one, EDITED, for healthcare analytics. You don't have to squint too hard to imagine a stack of patient files instead of a rack of clothing in the image above. The biggest data challenge might be that healthcare isn't just one thing right? We have to rely on latent factor models to better represent the complexity of what we mean when measuring any metrics related to healthcare.
A blouse is a blouse, and I suppose retail represents a commodity industry while healthcare is quite something else. Let's see if there aren't any insights we can model or at least pay attention and appreciate.
Think of a data point included in a visualization not unlike the "tragic sweater" described by Meryl Streep in the Devil Wears Prada. There are downstream decisions made based on data purity and quality although perhaps not in the same way as a cerulean blue pigment but you get my drift...
We need to do better with accessing the right data. I have been there. You locate a great data source that seems to have the variables you need to say something meaningful about a specific topic or insight. But there is one more step needed before the self congratulations and fist bumping.
Are you confirming a thought or a belief? I was directed to some work by Byron Katie about cognitive restructuring and naturally, I thought of data insights.
It goes something like this...are these insights true? Can you absolutely know they are true? Is there data out there that might challenge this reaction?
A thought is harmless until we believe it. It's not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering.--Byron Katie
The lovely Mona Chalabi hand draws all of her charts and graphics to remind us of the human element.
Our biases and frailties are all evident in the data questions we formulate, the sources we access, and even the insights we generate.
We need to look at the broader context of the low-hanging fruit and see what lurks beyond. Imagine if there was a "data" repository similar to the broad market snapshots of retail clothing.
Maybe monthly trend reports are needed to move the conversation in healthcare toward a more robust understanding of the open source data.
I am definitely thinking along those lines as I reach a broader audience interested in wrapping a story around their data. Maybe the devil actually wears...data.
I will try and share some of the free discussions as I travel around the country talking about data literacy in healthcare specifically.
You can register for a free webinar on March 29th at 1:00 PM EST here...The 5 second rule and your data: how dirty is it?
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In a world of "evidence-based" medicine I am a bigger fan of practice-based evidence.
Remember the quote by Upton Sinclair...
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”